Dean M. Chriss
Red Shouldered Hawk, Juvenile, Wing Stretch

Red Shouldered Hawk, Juvenile, Wing Stretch

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I found this red-shouldered hawk perched on a low branch protruding from a dense mangrove forest. I had already photographed it when it decided to stretch its wings. It remained in this position for quite a while before flying to a more open area. Red-shouldered hawks typically live and hunt in forests, but they prefer forested areas with an an open sub-canopy, not extremely dense forests like this one.

Like most hawks they are very skittish if approached too closely. Their appearance varies throughout their range. For instance, western birds are generally more red and Florida birds are generally more pale. Juveniles are more brown above with a less reddish tone on their shoulders.