Red-Shouldered Hawk

Buteo lineatusA Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) perches near the Nature Center at Marine Park. A brief sighting; the bird zoomed off quick as a… hawk. Usually birds of the forest, they’re a rare sight in the city; I last saw one in Brooklyn in March 2011, at Calvert Vaux Park. I hear that this one has been hanging around the Ecology Village camp grounds at Floyd Bennett Field. This little patch of pine woods, rare for the city, is dying back; another piece of fine habitat abandoned (not this time by the city, but the feds, since it’s part of Gateway National Recreation Area). It’s two miles as the hawk flies from Ecology Village to Marine Park.

This is one of the Buteo genus raptors, but it’s a little smaller and sleeker than the much more common Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis); silhouette-wise, it’s rather more reminiscent of the Accipiter genus, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned. The orange on the chest was not at all heavy, as it would be in the standard Eastern version of an adult bird, but the brick red “shoulders,” just visible here at the top of the wing, were marvelously definitive in flight.

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