Tag Archives: Red-tail vs Eagle in Flight

Red-tail vs Eagle in Flight

Red-tail vs Eagle in Flight- go ahead, cast your ballots. Who will be the winning bird in this territorial dispute?

Details: Observed in western PA in the Allegheny Mountains in an open field in late October, 2008.

A pair of Red Tail Hawks soaring overhead while I set up my tiny tent between two large bales of rolled hay.

I took out my compact Bushnell binoculars from my pocket to confirm their identification. I silently sent them a “message” – Okay beautiful birds, I know this is Your dinner table but it is my place to sleep for the next few days, so let’s not make it an issue, ok? They continued to circle oblivious to my silent plea for a truce.

The next morning before I crawled out of my tent, of course I LOOKED out the windows. Observed 4 deer (all does) feeding about 50 feet away and my hawks were not yet stirring in the sky.

I stayed in the tent until the fog cleared to let the deer feed longer, so I quietly packed up my gear, glancing out the windows now and then.

After it warmed up and the deer moved on, I began to carry my gear to the car in small bundles. That was about 11 AM and bright and sunny.

I glanced overhead in response to a keening call from a hawk. And was I ever surprised. The red-tail was chasing and harrassing a HUGE bird. (Note to non-birders- Red tail Hawks are BIG birds.) My first thought was “My gosh Red is chasing a golden eagle!” I ducked behind the hay bales and scurried back to the tent for my binoculars to confirm my ridiculous siting.

As I grabbed my compact Bushnells, I said to myself,” Duh, Golden Eagles don’t LIVE here!” Now flat on the ground I rolled over for a better view and confirmed it was a indeed a red-tail hawk harassing a JUVENILE BALD EAGLE right out of its territory. The juvenile persisted for a while and made some large circles around the field perhaps 100 ft overhead.

The hawk persisted in chasing, calling and harassing until finally with the flick of a wing feather the juvenile bald eagle left the scene. The hawk returned to the treeline and I rolled over in the grass, stunned and thrilled by this early morning wild-life show.

Cheers for vacation time! Thanks Birds!

So which one did YOU choose as the winner?

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk