Red-shouldered Hawk Fishing!

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Saturday, January 25, 2014 

Today, a friend of mine (Vic Berardi) forwarded me an email he received that he thought I would enjoy. A friend of his (David McNicholas) sent him a few pictures he took of a Red-shouldered Hawk from Florida plucking a small Bullhead Catfish out of a pond. The sequence of photos (below) is just so neat to see, and I am thankful David readily agreed to let me post them here. Red-shouldered Hawks are known to feed near water on wetland prey such as frogs, crayfish, etc., or in dry fields, catching things such as mice, snakes, lizards or anything small enough to seize. I have never seen a Red-shoulder catch a fish...I have heard of it happening very infrequently, and saw one catch a frog from a small pond once, but never this. These photos really capture that drama well, it's almost like being there. David McNicholas photographed this sequence today (January 25th) at CREW Bird Rookery right near Corkscrew Swamp in southern Florida.
Blogger Rich Adney said...

Amazing shots of a rarely seen event Mr. Nicholas! Thank you very much for sharing them!

January 25, 2014 at 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Hatem Gomaa said...

That is pretty incredible considering how rare that action is let alone having it captured on camera. You can almost see this bird adapting to doing that because of it's environment which in this particular case looks like possibly a Florida RS...? that hunts and feeds on all kinds of amphibians and aquatic creatures anyway but it's still pretty impressive to see it actually catch a fish just like an osprey would. Very cool.

January 26, 2014 at 6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. This is really cool. Thanks for letting us see these shots.

Ken Andrews

January 26, 2014 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Hi Hatem -- Many of the Red-shoulders in south FL and Florida in general are not the palest versions, chalk it up to variation within all groups. But they are paler than Eastern Red-shoulder

January 26, 2014 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Hatem Gomaa said...

Sorry Jerry I didn't read the intro before posting!
BTW, I only guessed Florida because of habitat, but that's obviously not a good way because it could've been other areas as well that look green and sunny and next to a pond. But the head on that bird is particularly light. We're used to RS's around here that have pretty dark heads and all the ventral orange is very heavy and mixed together, mostly at the chest area and then the belly is more defined.

January 26, 2014 at 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Ron Dudley said...

Fascinating behavior! Congrats to David for getting the shots.

January 27, 2014 at 3:44 AM  
Blogger Mary Howell Cromer said...

This is really awesome. I have followed Red-Shouldered Hawks since 1996 and though I know they love to build their nests near water and I have seen them hunting from the side, and bathing in rain water in boats, I have never seen anything like this! Great share~

January 27, 2014 at 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I frequently see red-shoulders hunting in the local wetland picking off frogs and toads, even while there is ice on the water. It's almost a daily occurrence. This particular wetland has one species of fish present, golden shiner, which can reach a length of 12 inches. I once observed a shoulder snatch a 7-8 inch shiner from the water's surface (more eagle style than osprey). Red-shoulders are adaptable, resourceful and anything that moves on land, air, or in the water is fair game for them (within certain size limitations, of course). Excellent photos.

Greg Dodge

February 6, 2014 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Greg - Thank you for the info...I enjoyed reading it. Hope to see more comments from you.

And hello if this is the same Greg Dodge from Braddock Bay. If so, say hi to Jeff too!

February 6, 2014 at 8:06 AM  
Anonymous said...

Amazing photography by David, Jerry! Is he a professional photograher?

May 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

I'm not sure if David is a professional but he takes pictures like one!

May 4, 2014 at 8:38 AM  

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