Red-tailed Hawk and Natural History

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    • Red-tailed hawk rests on Natural History by Patrick Dougherty. Photo by Karen Orlando.Red-tailed hawk rests on Natural History by Patrick Dougherty. Photo by Karen Orlando.
    • One of BBG's regular visitors, a red-tailed hawk. Photo by Karen Orlando.One of BBG's regular visitors, a red-tailed hawk. Photo by Karen Orlando.
    • A red-tailed hawk on Patrick Dougherty's sculpture Natural History. Photo by Karen Orlando.A red-tailed hawk on Patrick Dougherty's sculpture Natural History. Photo by Karen Orlando.
    • Red-tailed hawk at BBG rests on Natural History. Photo by Karen Orlando.Red-tailed hawk at BBG rests on Natural History. Photo by Karen Orlando.
    • Red-tailed hawk at BBG. Photo by Karen Orlando.Red-tailed hawk at BBG. Photo by Karen Orlando.
    • Red-tailed hawk at BBG. Photo by Karen Orlando.Red-tailed hawk at BBG. Photo by Karen Orlando.

    It’s always a good day when one of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s regular visitors, the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicencis) is spotted, except perhaps for the rabbits and rodents. Staff and visitors have regularly seen hawks in the Garden for years. It’s likely that they live nearby in Prospect Park where several red-tailed hawks are known to nest, but they are so often spotted at BBG that many of us have come to think of them as our own.

    Last week while the grounds crew, arborists, and interns were working to clean up the debris from the September 16 storm, one of the red-tails flew in and perched on Patrick Dougherty’s sculpture Natural History for a few minutes. Perhaps it took the woven-wood art for a giant nest, or perhaps the sculpture just provided a good vantage point from which to hunt for that evening’s meal. Regardless of the reason, it was the perfect opportunity to get an up-close view and snap a few quick photos. As a horticulture intern at BBG I’m out on the grounds quite a bit, but no matter how many times the hawks are spotted, it’s just one of those things that doesn’t get old. Every time I see one I can’t help but stop and watch in amazement.


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