The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


September 28, 2012

Red-tailed hawks always looking for a free meal


My farm birds sit in the hedge rows and watch me mow my meadows each summer. As my tractor and bush hog pass, they swoop down and catch moles and voles that scurry through the shortened grass. More often than not, they'll remain at their kill and eat it right there. I drove by one several times as he fed on a young rabbit. He just spread his wings and covered up his dinner until I was several yards away. These birds have learned to adapt and take advantage of my encroachment into their territory.

Other farmers in the area have told me the same thing. Driving the tractor across the field is a little like ringing the dinner bell.

Even though this area is actually a year-round habitat for the red-tailed hawk, I think my hawks actually migrate when the cold and snow arrives. I don’t see them during the winter. They're replaced by a pair of Northern harriers that have shown up for many years.

If you're interested in hawks and their migration, you might want to contact the local Audubon Society and visit the hawk-watching facility of the top of Swart Hollow Road. This is the time of year that these magnificent birds pack their bags and head south.

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at



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