Monday, February 23, 2009

Red-shouldered Hawk Eats Turtle

This may seem obvious, but when I go birding I like to see birds. Going places where the birds are really helps to achieve this goal. It is even better when the birds are somewhat used to having people around. Botanical gardens and parks are great places to bird (used here as a active verb). One of my recent discoveries is Aquarena Springs in San Marcos Texas. It is now known Aquarena Center, an educational facility managed by Texas State University.

I have gotten a number of wonderful images of songbirds, wading birds, and dragonflies here. On my most recent visits I was able to photograph a family of Red-shouldered Hawks.

Today, I heard the hawks calling as I parked, but it sounded like they were some distance away.

Entering the grounds, I walked past the glassbottom boat dock and the area where they used to perform an underwater mermaid show. Looking across the grass I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk eating a kill.

As I took some pictures, a young couple walked down the paved path, and the hawk took flight.

The hungry hawk carried its prey along as it flew over the water, passing within 25 feet of where I was standing.

I walked over where it had been eating. There wasn't any fur or feathers on the ground. This was unusual for a hawk kill, as they remove as much of the feathers and fur as they can. When I got home and checked the images on my computer, I saw that it was a turtle.

Not standard fare for a Red-shouldered Hawk, but plentiful at the springs and evidently easy prey. As long as you can get them open.


  1. Great photos! My favorite is the fourth one. Red-shouldered Hawks are the most common hawk in my neighborhood and I love seeing them. But I've never seen one eat a turtle.

  2. Great series of photos, Eric!

    I always wondered what happened to the old Aquarena Springs park. I went there several times as a kid in the early to mid-70s. The things I remember the most are the glass-bottomed boats (glad to see those are still in use), the skyride, the amazing Swimming Pig show (heh), and the beauty of the place. Oh, and that there was PLENTY of space to run and get separated from the parents without getting lost. I'm glad they've kept the place open, and that it's being used more for education purposes now. Do you have to pay to get in now?

    Love the post and the new blog. I've added it to my blogroll.

  3. cool pics i am doing a school report on the red shouldered hawk


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