I was at the right time and the right place for this one. After snapping a number of photos, I noticed a trace of blood on the hawk’s feet, which would explain why it sat for so long. After successfully capturing prey, hawks often rest on a perch, grooming themselves and sometimes standing on one foot, as you can see here.
Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) in the Thain Family Forest – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez
Some of my best wildlife sightings at the Garden this year have been right before I check in for work. Earlier this week, I saw a wild turkey just outside our offices at the Visitor Center. She was standing on one of the planters, looking right at me!
Wild turkeys are a common sight at the Garden and other green spots during the winter. The framing could not have been better! She soon jumped down and walked on the lawn—one more for the books.
A wild turkey at the Visitor Center – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez
This past weekend, for the fourth consecutive year, The New York Botanical Garden had a live birds of prey demonstration as part of its ongoing Fall Forest Weekends programming. Returning for their second year was the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit organization based in Long Island. In addition to 305 stunning acres of protected land, they also serve as a permanent home to wildlife that can no longer be released.
For this year’s presentation, they brought along a great-horned owl, two screech owls, a snowy owl, and a red-tailed hawk. Garden visitors were given a wonderful photo opportunity as the presenters walked through the aisles while explaining the stories of each bird of prey. During their talk they briefly touched on the fact that many resident and migrant raptors call NYBG their home. And just like last year, Hooter the great-horned owl stole the show!
I was visiting the Garden on my day off and decided to check out the Native Plant Garden, which is now a major wildlife hotspot. I had just walked in when I noticed this large common snapping turtle getting a suntan. I wanted to move in closer and found a perfect spot. Unfortunately, the wind kept blowing the flowers between me and my new friend, making it very hard to keep him in focus.
I dared not move in any closer, which would have resulted in the snapper dropping into the water. I just kept on shooting for about two minutes until I got an opening. He was later joined by a red-eared slider. They were soon sharing the deck, making for a very interesting video.
A common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) in the Native Plant Garden – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez
I was on my break and headed to the Watson Building when I spotted this young Red-tail just off the Rock Garden. It was very much on the hunt and scanning some nearby squirrels. It didn’t seem to mind my presence one bit, which made for a most excellent photo opportunity. You can see more in this video I shot of the encounter.
Red-tailed Hawk near the Rock Garden – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez