I heard the Red-tailed hawk pictured on your left long before I saw the magnificent raptor circling over my house this afternoon while I was raking leaves. Also known by its scientific name Buteo jamaicensis, the Red-tailed hawk is one of the most common birds of prey in North America, though as someone who has spent most of his life in the city I still get excited to see one in my neighborhood.
I thought I lost the bird in the time it took me to run in and grab my camera, but a minute or two later I saw the hawk circling again, its four-foot wingspan large enough to create a shadow on the ground below.
I suspect that the hawks in the vicinity of my house have been feasting at times on the rats that have wandered into our neighborhood due to the recent construction on Secor Road, which likely disturbed rodent habitats in sewers. In 20 years of living in this West Toledo house I never saw a rat until this summer, and just this morning I found another dead rat in my front yard.
So I welcome the presence of these large raptors, which not only provide entertainment but likely keep down the population of unwanted pests.