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Featured Photo: Red-shouldered Hawk eating suet

January 27, 2011

An unusual feeding behavior was recently captured by FeederWatcher Jennifer Gaden of Charlottesville, Virgina. Jennifer snapped this unique photo of a Red-shouldered Hawk hanging upside-down from a suet feeder. Of the thousands of photos submitted to FeederWatch each year, this is the first image we’ve received that captures such behavior. Nice find, Jennifer!

A creative Red-shouldered Hawk.

You can learn more about Red-shouldered Hawks in the species account on All About Birds.

9 Comments
  1. Denise permalink
    January 27, 2011 2:41 pm

    I am SO glad to see someone else has seen a Red Shouldered Hawk eating something other than the “normal” diet that we all read about.

    Here is my story that I’d like to share –

    We have a Red Shouldered hawk that hangs out around our yard in the winter months. I’m not sure if it’s the same hawk or not (I’d like to believe that it is), but one comes to our yard on most days in the winter and has been doing so for the past 5 or so years.

    This particular hawk usually hangs out by the bird feeders and will catch mice and moles that are feeding on the fallen seed. However, this year his feeding behavior also struck me as odd.

    Nothing goes to waste at my house. If I can recycle food to the birds and critters, I will do so. Any old food stuff from the fridge, freezer or that my house birds don’t eat, I usually will throw outside. The leftover food that I don’t want my dog getting into, is always tossed in our fenced in garden.

    I recently threw some leftover appetizers from a holiday party into the garden, and lo and behold…I caught the Red Shouldered eating it up. I was really surprised to see that. At first, I thought he had caught another mouse, but then when I looked closer, he was eating these appetizers. He actually beat the crows to them!!

    There was roast beef in these appetizers, so I thought maybe the meat was the lure. Until the following week. I had mixed up some stale bread chunks with melted peanut butter and Crisco and threw that into the same garden hot spot. Didn’t he come down again to eat the peanut butter covered bread!

    He seems to know where to come for a good meal, because last weekend he enjoyed eating some cooked pork and veggie burgers that were purged from the freezer, thawed out and placed in the same garden spot.

    Even the dead mice that are caught in our garage gets recycled and enjoyed by him.

  2. Moe and Bobbie Worster permalink
    January 27, 2011 3:27 pm

    Unusual indeed. Wish the hawk that comes to my yard would eat suet instead of hunting my birds.

  3. January 27, 2011 6:42 pm

    How wonderful to capture the red shoulderd hawk eating suet.
    Last nite about midnite my husband saw a Great Grey Owl in the top of our dead spruce tree.
    We have a feeder tray attached to the tree and at nite the flying squirrels sail in to feed ther.
    that is probably why the huge owl visits our tree.

  4. Jim Green permalink
    January 31, 2011 7:49 pm

    That is a great shot! I have 3 that are hanging around my house and property and love to see them soaring over head on warm days this winter. Haven’t had one at the feeder yet though.

  5. February 1, 2011 10:39 pm

    This is my first year at Feeder Watch and was delighted to see this image of the RSH at the suet feeder. I drafted up a website last year and I included on the homepage (changes)an image of a RSH atop a suet feeder in my back yard. However it was not feeding on the suet. It and a mate stayed in my back yard and at one time mated in a tree no more than 50 feet from my window. There were other birds around them when they were feeding and they were all feeding on the same thing. Until I set my scope on one and did a digital recording, I would have never guessed what they were scooping down. The image links to the film clip … give it a few seconds to download. Your browser should be able to control the image. Here’s the link.

  6. Emily permalink
    February 2, 2011 4:43 pm

    Wow, very cool photo!

    I periodically spot a RSH on my property in Northern VA and hope he steps up his game in the entertainment department.

  7. Charlie Kucera permalink
    February 11, 2011 12:26 am

    A note to my previous comment. In the last sentence, “Here’s the link.”, the word “link” is actually hypertext that takes one to the video clip of the feeding RSH.

  8. January 6, 2013 1:51 pm

    Just yesterday there was a Red-shouldered Hawk in our platform feeder chowing down on a commercial suet block. I think it was the Peanut Butter & Jelly suet from WildBirds Unlimited.

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