This past week, I have been noticing this immature Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) hanging around the forest edge at work. Yesterday, it landed in a tree about 80 yards from me and gave me enough time to grab my camera, rush through the settings, and hurriedly get in position before it flew out across the open space of the golf course’s fairway for Hole 1.
By late summer, young red-tailed hawks “fledge” from the nest. This can cause a shift in hunting territories for all individuals of the species due to the influx of competition. Of course, newly fledged birds are far less experienced in hunting and likely pose little competition with older birds. Red-tailed Hawks feed primarily on squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and other small mammals. So, it really comes as no surprise to see a redtail appear here during this time…the entire property of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge has no shortage of squirrels and chipmunks.
The grounds crew and course superintendent at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge have been working hard all summer long to keep the golf course in excellent shape. If you look closely at the underside of this red-tailed hawk, you can see that, even after a month of lower than normal rainfall, the fairway for Hole 1 is still green enough to reflect off the bird’s white feathers, making them look green.
Tom Oliver who works at the OAC is a bird/nature photographer and avid outdoorsman. He shot this image on the 1st hole of the golf course. To check out more of Tom’s photography visit his Instagram: @theupwell .