I suspected that it might be a good day for Red-tailed Hawks at Downsview, when one landed on a light standard in the parking lot just as we began our walk.
Later, another was seen on a fence post far out in a field.
The Red-tailed Hawk, of course, has a red tail.
Or does it? In the woods, we found another hawk which permitted a very close look. We, naturally, were on our best behaviour and did nothing to frighten this large bird (average between 20 -25 inches in height).
However, it was clear that this Red-tail did NOT have a red tail.
The reason? Immatures have dark-brown tails with rather fine black bars. Birds of Ontario (1985): Dr. J. Murray Speirs
Thank-you to Tim Wainright who took these photos during our walk.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year. – Robert Frost
What a riot! I was further back in line on the path, unable to hear (the hearing aid I was wearing isn’t working well), looking at the Hawk and trying to figure out what variety of Hawk it could be! I heard it declared a Red-tail before we entered the path, but on further examination I found myself confused and wondering if I had heard correctly, because it was smaller and didn’t have a red tail! Finally, when we left the path, I was told that it WAS was a Red-tail–a juvenile! I certainly learned something important that day, and got to see a juvenile Red-tail!