Readers’ wildlife photos (boids)

December 22, 2013 • 9:16 am

Today we have three lovely bird photos from readers (click photos to enlarge):

Mal sent me this aerodynamic picture of a flying rook (Corvus frugilegus):

image 274

It’s a swell picture on its own, but Mal sent it because he thought it resembled a “UFO” sighting recently in North Devon:


And reader Tom sent a picture that he called it “let us prey.” Indeed, the bird looks like it’s saying a preprandial grace. I didn’t get a reply when I asked him what the bird was, what the prey was, or if the prey was already dead when the bird found it (I suspect not). Perhaps other readers can help out here.


Finally, reader Paul sent a picture of a bald eagle in a residential neighborhood, with the note:

I took the attached picture of a Bald Eagle yesterday in Viera, Florida. I have seen Bald Eagles before in that area, but never this close up and low to the ground.I was fortunate that this majestic bird waited long enough for me to park my car and allowed me to come fairly close (of course, I’d left my telephoto at home).


22 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos (boids)

  1. For the unidentified raptor, I think it is a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). The prey looks like a White-tailed Deer, so I suspect it was indeed found dead.

  2. The “belly-band” on the hawk in the middle photo is diagnostic for a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). And this prey is almost certainly too large for the hawk (~1,000 g.) to have killed. They commonly feed on carrion.

    1. Red tailed hawks are not common carrion eaters though they will eat carrion if they have to. They usually feed on small prey like mice and other small mammals. I’ve also seen them occasionally kill birds though they usually are not interested in birds. I once saw one kill a pigeon and several have killed doves in my yard. They stand on them like that to kill them.

      This one looks like it may have found this prey. It looks rather large for it to have brought down.

      1. Catching pigeons on the wing is no small feat. They’re among the most maneuverable of birds.

        There are Harris’s Hawks that live in the metro area, but I haven’t seen any in my neighborhood. It’s a shame because I understand they’re successful pigeon predators, and there’re enough pigeons in the neighborhood to feed at least one hawk family.


        1. These the hawk caught on the ground. They and doves can be slow as I think they use a defence of “if I stay still you won’t see me” and when they realize that didn’t work, it’s often too late and the hawk gets them.

  3. I’d never heard of a flying rook until now but it looks lovely as all corvids do.

    The eagle must be used to people – my hawks here, like many country animals, take off as soon as I open a window or door or move to much inside. They are always on the move anyway & a red tail was far to busy to wait until I got my camera focused this morning!

  4. The cross-sectional profile of the rook makes me wonder if some birds also lift from their overall body shape in addition to the wings.

  5. “Reader Tom’s” photo of raptor on unknown prey: It looks most like a juvenile Red-tail Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, subspecies calurus. This subspecies ranges from Manitoba south to west Texas and west to the Pacific coast, very rarely east of the Mississippi River. The dark vertical mottling (or barring) across the belly with white upper breast, legs and (apparently) vent, plus the brown back and crown, along with the grayish bill and yellow feet with dark talons, plus it’s in the snow, point heavily in this direction.

    What is visible of the prey looks like a seal, which (he said dryly) seems unlikely on a snowy hillside. Perhaps a river otter?

  6. That eagles are showing up so frequently is a testament to the efficacy of the ban on DDT and related persistent pesticides. Thank you to everyone who pushed that through.

  7. When I see the use of the term “boids” on this page I think, “OK, some snake photos!” But, alas, all that appear are dinosaurs gone in another direction…

    The term boids is a common gropu name for the snake family Boidae, hence my initial confusion.

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