By Janet Hommel Mangas
This evening while eating dinner in the living room, with a crime mystery show quietly filling the background with sound (don’t judge me, it was a long day; we don’t have cable and our remote batteries were dead, so no Netflix) — a huge movement abruptly caught our attention.
Now I admit I don’t always remember Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, but I can tell you the Mangas household does utilize sections of his 1667 great inertia findings.
Newton’s first law states: An object at rest remains at rest …
The Mangas first household law states: An object/resident at rest remains at rest unless a huge bird flies by the front bay window or a deer jumps the fence — then said resident must jump up and gape from the bay window, shrieking in awe to alert fellow residents.
The huge movement was our neighboring red-tailed hawk (aptly named “RT”) who swooped down, putting on an airshow in front of our 10-foot-wide bay window. At first glance, I thought he was an owl because his body was so thick and huge.
After some research, I shared with the hubby that the average wingspan for a red-tail is 43 to 57 inches, with a typical weight of 2 to 3.5 pounds. Since we just returned from a fishing trip, where we quickly weigh and measure “the big ones” before releasing them, I asked the Mister how much he estimated RT weighed.
“He had to weigh over five pounds — he was huge.”
I agree that our RT is quite atypical, but since the experts all note that red-tails are the largest bird in North America, but even the largest female weigh only 3 pounds, I’ll just assume RT is about 3.7 pounds. It does amaze me that they can actually pick up a 5-pound prey.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the oldest known wild red-tailed hawk was at least 30 years old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981. So I could assume RT could be the same nesting neighbor we’ve had for the past 25 years — maybe.
Of course our Hoosier RT isn’t famous like the New York red-tail named Pale Male, who has resided near Central Park since 1990 and was quite famous for nesting on a Fifth Avenue building. That big city bird has been the feature of two documentaries and three children’s books.
Our Hoosier RT enjoys the quiet countryside, which is ripe with rabbit, field mice and voles. And Indiana is quiet enough to enjoy RT’s hoarse, screaming kee-eeeee-arr, while she soars the area.
Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to email@example.com.