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Happiness is a Red-shouldered Hawk in the Garden

Posted March 2011
by Paul Kerlinger

Cape May, NJ - Garden ornaments rarely have feathers, but we are lucky enough to have one that has feathers and also flies.

Almost daily, a Red-shouldered Hawk has been coming to visit and almost without exception it perches in our garden. It usually sits in the center of our garden on an arched trellis on which coral honeysuckle and cardinal climber grow in warmer months.

What's so special about Red-shouldered Hawks?

Well, for one they are a threatened species in New Jersey, which means they are quite rare as nesting birds.

By its plumage, we know our visitor hatched last spring, but we don't know where it calls home. It could be from northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or even Quebec.

Here in Cape May, Red-shouldered Hawks are a regular wintering bird, and have tried to nest locally.

These particular hawks are not only attractive, they're fun to watch. When we oberve them long enough, we often see them dive into the brush or grass as they try to catch mice or even small birds.

So who says garden ornaments can't have feathers and eat mice!


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