We were a little startled this evening by the bird perched on our backyard feeder. He was most definitely not there for the safflower seed... that's just not part of the diet of a juvenile Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus).
We made our way outside to see him a bit more clearly. We knew he was juvenile because of the white coloration of his breast. Adults have reddish-brown breast feathers. The tail feathers also show distinct bands, a characteristic of a younger hawk of this species.
Red-shouldered hawks are a common predator in My Florida Backyard. They've been responsible for picking off plenty of baby ducklings, and last year we watched one take down a crow (click here to learn more). If this one continues to haunt the bird feeder, we will most likely see very few songbirds for awhile, but tonight the sight of this hawk was enough to fill us with awe... and that's enough for one day.