by Joan Smedinghoff
January 19, 2018
Red-shouldered hawks are pretty common sights around the Chesapeake region, even in highly urbanized places like Baltimore, Maryland. Their breasts are covered in reddish barring, and their wings and tail are painted with black and white stripes.
Barred owls, too, are common in the region, even if they’re less-visible in the dark when they hunt. They’re shorter than hawks, stouter and have large brown eyes sunk into their gray faces.
What do these two birds have in common? A lot, it turns out. Although they look different and work different shifts, barred owls are considered the nocturnal counterparts to red-shouldered hawks. Both birds live in the same habitats and hunt the same food, so as red-shouldered hawks are settling in to sleep, barred owls are waking up to look for the same prey.
While no owls were spotted at the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center on the afternoon of January 10, 2018 when this red-shouldered hawk was seen, it’s very possible one could have come by later that evening. After decades of neglect, Masonville Cove was restored and designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the nation's first urban wildlife refuge. Formerly the site of an illicit dump, Masonville Cove’s waterfront is now home to more than 50 acres of conserved land, including wetlands, trails and a bird sanctuary.
Learn more about restoration and education programs at Masonville Cove.