This weekend, on another sketching expedition in Golden Gate Park, I spotted a young red tailed hawk in a tree just at eye level on Strawberry Hill. It paid no attention to me. Barrel-chested and looking mighty puffed-up, with a haughty affect like a brigadier general, it sternly surveyed the scene below, in between bouts of determined grooming, working particularly hard on a downy feather that was out of line under one wing. Gratefully, I made a series of leisurely sketches, trying to capture its proportions, posture and coloring. Small head in relation to large body, squared shoulders, ungainly large feet. Light yellowish breast with spotted waistcoat (much lighter, subtler yellow than in this drawing). Dark chestnut-colored back and head. Slightly hooked beak with a dark tip. Striped underside of the tail. The big personality of this bird was mesmerizing; I left reluctantly.
As I was heading down the hill a jogger stopped me and asked, “Did you see the hawk?” I said yes and he said two of them are often seen there lately, one juvenile and one adult. At home, I googled “red tailed hawks Golden Gate Park,” and found this video on u-tube, posted by Mila Zinkova a couple of weeks ago. Looks like good hunting in the park for this pair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14pXgUZxWpg