While visiting Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge we attended a short talk and demonstration on hawks and falconry given by two of the local residents. They had their beautiful birds on hand. I believe the bird shown above is a red-tailed hawk, although I’m not 100% sure about that.
The birds were hooded and carried on thick leather gloves, as expected. The owner of the hawk gave us a display of how the hawk flies and tries to catch prey while in flight.
Once unhooded and untethered, the hawk took to the air and began soaring, elegant and graceful. A leather decoy was whipped about and the hawk repeatedly caught it.
The display ended when a bald eagle (seen below) approached our demonstration. Bald eagles kill hawks, so our demo bird was called back and rehooded. But it still was a memorable and impressive demonstration.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)