I've mentioned earlier that ever since deadly poisons were sprayed alongside Route 23, I've not seen many living birds or butterflies there. This morning on the way to the computer center I did see a flock of small migrating birds fly over Route 23, southbound.
The red-tailed hawk who lives near Route 23 screamed three times as I passed by. I'm not really familiar with this red-tail, although I've been observing him and his mate for years--can't swear that he's the same one I've been observing, but he was definitely a mature male with the same color pattern. (Male red-tails are much smaller than females; both sexes show more red feathers as they mature, with individual variation.)
Anyway I can't claim to understand the red-tail's language. He might have been calling his mate, or mourning for the loss of her, or trying to attract another female red-tail's attention. He might have been able to raise a family this year, and been giving fatherly advice to his young. He might have found fresh roadkill. But it's just barely possible that he was saying, "Write about me!" So I did.
Though red-tails do sometimes eat smaller birds, they don't thrive on this kind of cannibalistic diet. Healthy red-tails eat mostly small animals--mice, rats, voles, frogs, freshwater shellfish. (They have been known to eat young domestic animals, but this is rare.) I was glad to observe that the hawk I saw seemed completely uninterested in the little tweetybirds passing by.
(Fun facts and nice clear pictures of red-tailed hawks are available at these nonprofit sites: