Two-hawk Day at Forest Park

December 4, 2013

I rarely have a two-hawk day, especially different species, but I got lucky at Forest Park on Thanksgiving morning. I hit the park at dawn and took a stroll through the prairies and wetlands, many of which were restored and/or built with assistance from the Missouri Department of Conservation. I found the featured red-tailed hawk near the Visitor’s Center and a red-shouldered hawk near the Steinberg Prairie. Both hawks were tolerant of my intrusion, sitting still long enough for a steady shot with my 500mm lens and 2x teleconverter.

I’ve included a nice head-on look at the redtail as well as an image from the rear so you can see a little bit of the tail coloring that gave the critter its name.


The second hawk, a red-shoulder, was sitting on a branch near a shallow pool full of ducks. Red-shouldered hawks love to hunt near water so I wasn’t surprised to find one lurking near the cypress swamp. I’ve seen red-shouldered hawks eating all kinds of frogs, snakes, salamanders and other creatures that live near water. I’ve even watched them go in the water at our pond to snatch frogs. But I’ve also watched red-shoulders take grackles from our bird feeder and voles from our fields so you might say they are an equal opportunity predator.


I also ran into a pied-billed grebe and belted kingfisher on my holiday walk through Forest Park. Both were happy to pose for me, but I didn’t want to overload this post with images. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays,

Danny Brown

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New Publication:  Interested in learning about Horned Larks? See my latest story in “Missouri Conservationist” here.

8 comments on “Two-hawk Day at Forest Park”

  1. Could you send me the Grebe and K’fisher pics too? That would be a nice holiday bonus!

  2. Wonderful shots. I always say if I can find one hawk it’s a good day so I’m not sure what two different species would make it.

  3. Great shots Danny. I always like to study those raptors up close. The red- tailed looks like he a teenager. Am I right?


  4. Danny, I’m surprised to run across your name from my blogsite (Bird Movies by Jo) as well as on Facebook within a couple of hours. It’s especially coincidental since the Facebook film you commented on was about a juvenile female Cooper’s Hawk. My husband is the “real” birder in our family, and he debated for some time whether we were seeing a Cooper’s Hawk or a Red-shouldered. She looked large enough to him to be a Red-shouldered. I left the ID to him since he knows way more than I do. Looking at your photo, I’d say the Red-shouldered looks a lot like the bird in my movie.

    • I didn’t take a close look. I’ll look again as I’m pretty familiar with red-shoulders. Also it would be more likely for a red-shoulder to ignore the squirrel on the tree branch.

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