Raleigh Raptors – A Scene from the Capitol

At close to sundown, I found one Red-tail on an oak tree by the Capitol (next to the Presidents Monument).  As I approached, it took off.

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I thought it would land on Goldie Hen, but it didn’t and continued north.

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I followed it to the parking lot across from the Wilmington street side of the History Museum.

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Several small birds landed and joined him on the tree.

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A few minutes later, he took off, with some ‘fighter’ escorts.  Who was this dignitary?

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The ‘fighter’ escort seemed to be  common house Sparrows ( I think).  As I checked my images, I found out the dignitary is our boy, Blynken!  He is still in town!

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Blynkie looked good, albeit a little thin, I think.  This time, he landed on Goldie Hen.

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Well, the crows didn’t like it and harassed him.  Blynkie didn’t blink :).

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He’s probably going to do what Babe did last year and stay until the next generation hatches or until Mama and Papa kicks him out.

I proceeded to the Capitol area to get a better shot of Blynken, but as I approached the Capitol, I saw 2 other hawks.  Mama and Papa!

Mama looked at me.  Yes, Mama.  The hawkarattzzi has come to cover the game in progress.

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Papa was more interested in something else…

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and it was this furry little creature.

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Papa pounced, but the hawks are no match to the quickness of the squirrel for very short distances.  The squirrel was just to quick for Papa.

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As agile these Red-tailed hawks are, there was just no way Papa could make a 90 degree turn to catch the squirrel, at least not at these short distances and confined quarters.

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Blynkie didn’t stay idle and took off from Goldie Hen, but did not join in the hunt.

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For the Nikon techno geek – AF delay was set to short and it WORKS!.  Had it been set to OFF, the AF would have picked up the tree branches below.

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It was Mama’s turn.  Mama eyed on this squirrel and pounced…

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and like Papa, she missed.

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Coach Blynken  flew in closer to set up the next play 🙂

Mama and Papa huddled and called out the next  play..  23-19… 23-19 hut… Hut… HUT!

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Coach Blynken watched…

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Suddenly, both Papa and Mama came swooping down.

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But the play was mis-executed and they slammed into each other giving the squirrel on the ground a chance to escape!

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Dang!

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Mama took off, but didn’t go after the squirrel.  Papa flew up the Magnolia tree as another squirrel skirted up the tree and hid.

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Gracefully magnificent

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To be this close and watch these birds in flight is truly a magnificent sight.

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I didn’t wait to find out if they caught the squirrel as the sun was already setting and light levels were getting very, very low.

Papa’s head “injury” update:

It looks like whatever was on the back of Papa’s head in the last few months has healed.

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Looking good

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7 thoughts on “Raleigh Raptors – A Scene from the Capitol

  1. This is fantastic!
    I was in DC on Feb. 2, 2012 and captured an image of a hawk perched in a tree with the Capitol Bldg as a backdrop – I recall being amazed at how the pedestrians around me were oblivious to this beautiful creature. Great story and capture!

    • thanks. I agree about pedestrians being oblivious to these large birds. I was one of them 2 years ago until a little photo expedition for some Mockingbirds led me to the discovery of these 2 Red-tails right in the middle of downtown Raleigh, and I’ve been tracking them ever since, when ever I have the time.
      A lot of folks would be asking as I point my camera to the trees or building. “What’s that?” It’s a Red-tail hawk.

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