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Redtails of Mt. Auburn

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A very familiar sight in Cambridge these days is a wheeling redtail. Oh, what a magnificent, yet very familiar sight to see. Hodge and I are the perfect pair. I look down, noting small plants and insects and amphibians, and she looks up, never missing a single redtail. We nudge each other, and together make an entire naturalist.

I'm not sure when redtails took over Cambridge, but it was well after I left. I'm sure they weren't around when I lived there. Neither did Pale Male nest just off Central Park, either. Urban redtails are a new thing, a beautiful thing, a needed thing.

In Mt. Auburn Cemetery, they are busy making more redtails. Here's an active nest. How do I know that it's active, other than being told by my local authority?

Well, the camera reveals tailage. My new Canon 7D doesn't miss much, even high overhead in a thick pine. Like me and Hodge, we're a complete unit. I notice stuff, and my Canon 70-300 EF telephoto lens records it magnificently.

Flying redtails are a breeze now. Who could ever tire of seeing a bird like this spread out overhead?

So Hodge and I are watching a redtail sitting, on alert, in a tree, and all of a sudden it launches itself

almost flying out of the frame which was terribly exciting to me

and it lands and grabs an already quite dead and stiff squirrel that we surmised it may have killed yesterday

in this peaceful and rather appropriate setting

and it sets about tearing up said squirrel as we gasp in astonishment at the beauty of it all.

That's my Mount Auburn.

I was very pleased to get a comment from "Friends of Mt. Auburn" on my last post, offering me a private tour the next time I'm in town! Woo! I'll take you up on that, but I'm bringing Hodge along.

brief commercial:

If you like these photos and are thinking of upgrading your rig (highly recommended!) visit Midwest Photo Exchange on High Street in Columbus, Ohio, or on the web. Ask for Sonnie. He'll fix you up. I think you can see that he fixed me up! Finally having a camera rig that's as  quick a birder as I am is an endless delight. 


your readers might be interested in this independent film on NY's famous "Pale Male":
It's had limited showings, and I've not seen it myself, but sure looks BEAUTiful!

Thanks for this reminder -- I had one there when I was visiting Mount Auburn in February, looking for Bill Alfred's grave (which I found). And Bill would have agreed: it's worth looking up!

Nick from Ottawa

Posted by Anonymous April 29, 2012 at 5:53 AM

We are opening each environmental science class with a peek at the NY Times Hawk Cam. The kids love it!

These are wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing! My vicarious birding for the day! BTW, the falcon scrape in Harrisburg: two eggs hatched, two didn't. Such a joy to watch the cam as the chicks grow. This is the 2nd time this female has nested here. First time she had one chick. Having two this time (& not the 4 she could have) means they will both get fed a lot! And I've seen some amazing feeding moments! One meal was a woodpecker!

"...gasp in astonishment at the beauty of it all." Love that, and isn't it the truth.

As an ex-resident of Athens, Ohio, I'll be returning to your blog just to refressh my memory of that part of the world.

From Hodge, whom The Google in its infinite wisdom has chosen to censor:

Okay, I have to inflict some clarification here: if Julie and I together make up one whole observant naturalist, well then, I can only take credit for about a half a bit out of her shiny dollar's worth of observational powers. I'm more like the kid with Asperger's who's hooked on owls and hawks. And even then, not really, because my knowledge of raptors is hardly encyclopedic. I'm limited to ID'ing two varieties: red tails and those that are hawks-but-not-red-tails.

I do have a propensity for spending my time looking skyward, but it's hard to know if that started as an obsession to find hawks doing lazy circles in the sky. All I know is that it's hazardous to one's health, walking around on Cambridge's bumpy brick sidewalks, to be scanning the great blue above for buteos--I word I slipped into a Scrabble game once, that I only know because of You, Ms. JZ.


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