There are some chickens next to the Boothe Memorial Park hawk watch site that you can find me at, when possible, from September through November. They are cared for by Boothe Park volunteers and enclosed by a fence. As they have some bad history with raptors swooping down on them, their residence is also covered by wire.
There has been a Red-tailed Hawk hanging out in the park a lot lately, and when I say hanging out, I mean just that - it sits around and stares at people, relaxing the day away while drooling over the chickens. It will go up and sit on the fence, staring down at the chickens through the wire. It knows an easy meal is right under its bill but it has no clue what to do about it.
Perhaps because of this it has become accustomed to humans, tame almost to the point of putting itself in danger. It allows me to approach it to within several feet and will even look away despite the fact I am so close to it. One afternoon while I sat on our hill watching the skies it flew directly at me, slowly, about five feet off the ground, turning up at the last moment to sit on the building over me, preening and watching the skies. It left after a while to go chase some squirrels around the trees in the park.
In short, the Boothe Park hawk watch has a mascot for the 2011 season. Check out the hawk watch data and information here and stop by sometime. Typically, no one is there, but sometimes, like late this week after a very strong cold front, you will find me knocking off the raptors by the hundreds or, rarely, the thousands.
Photos © Scott Kruitbosch