[Tweeters] Nisqually Red-tailed Hawk mimic?

Chazz Hesselein chazz at hesselein.com
Sun Apr 8 14:43:48 PDT 2012

Yesterday I had the great pleasure to go birding with the Kitsap Audubon
Society at Nisqually NWR, my first group WA birding trip. Thanks to all
of you KAS participants for making me feel so welcome!

Toward the end of our walk a couple of us distinctly heard a Red-tailed
Hawk (RTHA) call but no RTHA was seen then or, at least by me, anytime
during the day. After our lunch I returned to Nisqually to purchase my
first duck stamp (about time) and see if I could find the Great Egret
and a few other birds. As I started on the trail, I heard a RTHA call,
but once again, the elusive hawk was not seen. As I looked around I
spied a European Starling (EUST) sitting on a branch in the approximate
direction of the hawk. I have heard that EUST are excellent mimics so I
thought the most likely source of my calling RTHA was actually the EUST
sitting on the branch. On my return, about an hour later, I once again
heard a RTHA call, once again did not see the hawk, but shortly
thereafter saw a EUST on the same branch that I had seen earlier. This
time I stuck around for about 15 mins but neither the "hawk" nor the
starling vocalized while I waited. So, are those RTHAs that haunt Clint
Eastwood in Spaghetti Westerns actually RTHA recordings or are they
someone's EUST pet on the set ;-)?

Chazz Hesselein
Port Orchard, WA

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