Hawks of Brooklyn

New York City does not stop to surprise me with its hidden pockets of nature. A walk to the Botanical Garden turned into a viewing of one of the most majestic birds inhabiting this region, the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).

I was intrigued at how little he cared about twenty park dwellers staring directly at him. He sat on the tree branch, checked out his feathers and looked down at us. He looked extremely calm, bringing peace to my heart. I could see how beautiful his feathers were, and how powerfully his feet clasped the branch. The power of his claws and beak signaled very clearly that this raptor meant business. That entire show lasted about 5 minutes. In 5 minutes, he managed to stop all nearby visitors who forgot that they actually came here to see plants, including me.

I was unaware that red-tailed hawks had nests in the Botanical Garden, I have heard of hawks in Manhattan regularly. Somehow the Brooklyn red-tails managed to remain hidden. I wished I had a more powerful camera lens to document the intricate details on its anatomy.

Once he got bored, he spread his wings and flew away to a nearby tree. Maybe plant enthusiasts were not as intriguing as he expected them to be. As majestic as these creatures are, I was surprised to learn that small little birds would attack it. He remained patient. I was not sure if it was bravery or ignorance on their side, but the red-tail must have been used to such insults. Lucky for them, he was not in the mood for a snack.

Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) looking down at the crown underneath him.
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) left after being harassed by resident birds.

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