Feb 11 2012
Spring has come to Florida and with it a loud, insistent sound.
KEE-aah! KEE-aah! KEE-aah! KEE-aah! KEE-aah!
The bird shouts 5-12 times, waits about five minutes and shouts again. It’s a red-shouldered hawk.
Not for them the silent territorial circling of the peregrine falcon. Red-shouldered hawks have to tell the world, “I’m here!” When a pair displays together they lengthen their calls and repeat them 15-25 times before a pause.
The only thing that seems to shut them up is the need to hunt and to hide the nest. But if something threatens the nest all bets are off. They circle and dive on the intruder, calling excitedly. So much for hiding!
My field guide calls red-shouldered hawks “noisy, often heard before seen.” Some say red-shouldered hawks are the noisiest hawks in North America.
This may not be a good claim to fame.
(photo by Chuck Tague)