Monday, February 20, 2017

Western Red-Tailed Hawk

My son, Sam, and I were in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, in Southern Arizona, over the weekend. We had almost constant rain. During a brief interlude Sam spotted a red-tailed hawk perched on a saguaro cactus. It looked pretty disheveled, its feathers matted and askew. Phyllis Diller on a bad hair day. It has to be tough when you can't go inside to get away from the storm. This hawk was trying to dry out. 
Red-tailed hawk on saguaro cactus.
The western red-tailed hawk is one of 14 subspecies of the red-tail which breeds from Alaska down to Baja and winters from British Columbia to Guatemala and Nicaragua. The western red-tail has the most varied plumage of any of the sub-species and can vary from light to dark, to intermediate or rufus. 
The red-tail generally has a whitish underbelly with a dark brown band going across it. The red tail is brick-red above and light buff-orange below. 

The head can appear small in relation to the thick body frame. Their legs and feet are yellow. 
The thought of landing on a saguaro cactus with feet extended makes me cringe. 


  1. Great pictures. I like the Phyllis Diller reference.

  2. Wonderful series of the hawk in flight. And yeah, landing on a cactus is just about the worst thing I can think of.