"Mom,” a red-tailed hawk and Philadelphia’s most-watched bird, napped in a small London plane tree next to Sister Cities Park on a gray winter morning. On the sidewalk below, I joined Christian Hunold, associate professor of political science at Drexel University and a nature photographer. We suspected Mom had already filled her crop with rat meat by the time we found her. Carolyn Sutton, one of the most dedicated members of Philadelphia’s hawkwatching community, had run off to track down Mom’s paramour, a younger fellow named T4 (“T” for “tiercel,” the proper term for a male hawk). She found him a few blocks away ripping into another unlucky rat. Just another morning for an urban hawk family.
If you spend much time in Philadelphia, you have probably seen Mom, T4 or another of our urban red-tailed hawks. If not, now that you’ve read this, you will start seeing them everywhere: perched on rooftops, cruising over the road you’re driving on, swooping down to grab a squirrel while you eat lunch on a park bench. You’ll hear them too. Read More