Raptors in the Rain

By Dan Weisz

After two straight days of overcast skies and rain in Tucson. The desert and all of us really needed that, but I’m not sure the local raptors were too happy.

Here is one of the Red-tailed Hawks that perches near the entrance to my neighborhood, the Foothills Clusters. It is about 10:00 a.m. and he’s trying to dry off now.

This bird kept me in mind as it tried to dry out one wing and its tail.

Along River Road, a pair of Cooper’s Hawks did not seem to be faring too poorly. I don’t believe that many of their prey birds were out and about in the rain. Compared to the size of the red-tailed hawk, this bird is much slimmer as compared to the telephone pole it sits on. You can also see how it sits erectly compared to the red-tailed hawk.

One of the juvenile Harris’s Hawks along River Road appears very forlorn to me. I may be imagining things though. As a juvenile, it’s breast, head and back remain streaked.

It was hungry, too, and continued to call for company or for food. By perching on one leg, it helps to keep its other leg warmer.

Meanwhile the pair of Red-tailed Hawks across River Road perched together for a bit. I am certain that hunting in the rain is much less productive for them as prey species may not be as active in the wetter weather. The bird on the left appears much larger so she must be the female of the couple.

After the female left, the male remained behind and he roused once.

Later I spotted this bird on a palm tree. It may be the female, but I’m not certain. Since it remained on the hunting grounds, I assume that neither bird had been successful in its hunt yet.