Natural Sightings #568 - Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk.JPG

A Bald Eagle comes in for a landing.

Mary Dufrain took this photo in the Tehachapi area of a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) coming in to land on a power pole crossarm that was already being used as a perch by a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).

Naturally, the Red-tailed Hawk might object to having the eagle covet its perch, but the much smaller hawk is not in a position to do anything about it. Smaller raptors have to be wary of their larger relatives — they can become prey themselves.

A Ridgecrest veterinarian who was involved with falconry was flying his Goshawk when he flew off a long ways and managed to catch a California Quail. By the time the falconer had used radio telemetry to located his bird, however, there was nothing left but a scattering of Goshawk feathers next to a scattering of quail feathers — a Golden Eagle spotted the Goshawk when it was distracted with the freshly-caught quail, had seized the Goshawk and then proceeded to devour both smaller birds.

Bald Eagles are occasional visitors to the Tehachapi Mountains during the winter months. They are often seen near bodies of water, since Bald Eagles are enthusiastic consumers of fish — and waterfowl, for that matter, when they can catch them.

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: