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August 2010

Midtown Sacramento's Red-tailed Hawks provide on-going attraction

It's a Wild Life in Sacramento

From a Wildlife Perspective by Barbara L. Steinberg
Photos by Robert Sewell

Eaglet Courtesy Caltrans Eagle Cam For many months and for more than two years, we have watched through a voyeur's eye via the Caltran Eagle Cam at Turtle Bay as a family of bald eagles nested and raised their young near Redding, California. It was a marvel that had me and others captivated. And last year, just as the triple eaglets (rare to hatch and raise three to maturity) were ready to take flight and begin to fledge...leave the nest...the Eagle Cam malfunctioned and the screen went dark. End of story. We must assume the triplets eventually launched into the wild blue.

This year, the eagle parents repeated this amazing feat...triplets. And the Cam has remained steadfast. I watched with rapture up until it was confirmed the eggs had all hatched. And checked back from time to time. By now I know the eaglets have taken flight.

Other distractions kept me from tuning in with the same frequency. What could possibly keep me away from this wildlife wonder? Well....that would be a wildlife miracle unfolding just across the street. No hidden cameras necessary to observe. My own two eyes sometimes aided by a trusty pair of binoculars. The sights and sounds of mated red-tailed hawks nesting, breeding, and then feed their hungry young.

You don't have to go to the wilds of California to experience the wild life of wildlife.  There's an abundance of wildlife still living in our urban core. Raptors of all kinds, mammals, reptiles, and more. We know there are hawks in the city and see them often. But this was a first. Watching them soar in and out of their redwood home or perched on the adjacent redwood. Day in and day out we can hear their hungry young. And now the youngsters will soon fly and leave. What a thrill it has been.Winn Park Red-tailed 
Hawk Credit Robert Sewell 2010

And today I watched as one of the hawks (not sure it was adult or youngster) fly into the sky, circle,  soar, catch an up draft, and then just hang mid-air.

Sad to know these feathery neighbors will leave us soon. But what a joy to have shared their lives these past few weeks. The good news is that right next door a family of owls has taken up residence. And last night I heard the cries of hungry owlets and watched in awe as a large owl circled and disappeared in the limbs of the tree. There goes the neighborhood....thank goodness.

Thank you to Robert Sewell for sharing these images and for the Friends of the River Bank who have shared many other such moments. Feel free and fly.

Bald ealget photo courtesy of Caltrans Eagle Cam.