An unexpected visitor

New York, NY, USA

Red-tailed hawk

Adult red-tailed hawk sitting on an air conditioner

New York, NY, USA

New York is home to a variety of raptors of one kind or another, and I’ve grown accustomed to seeing some of them from the windows of my apartment. Nevertheless, I was a bit surprised to turn around and see this handsome creature sitting on my neighbor’s air conditioner, just a few feet from my kitchen window.

This bird, or one very like it, has been around for a while, much to the concern of the local pigeons. Another neighbor posted a spectacular picture of his cat coming face to face with a hawk (both animals seemed very curious about each other, but perhaps fortunately there was a window between them). Normally, however, I only see the hawk soaring in the distance. Seeing it at a distance of less than five feet reminded me quite how large these birds are.

It stayed around while I went to get my camera. Even when I slowly opened the window, it didn’t fly away, although it did eye my fingers with interest, as if wondering whether they might be good to eat. It watched me while I took more pictures, aware of me but apparently not too concerned. Finally, it defecated briskly into the garden below, launched itself into the air, and flapped away to land on another air conditioner on the other side of the building.