Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

We have a number of Red-Tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) living in the area. There are at least five different birds. This hawk was hanging around in the trees this morning. Perhaps the hawk was spying a rodent for breakfast. It can spot prey from hundreds of feet in the air. The UMN Raptor center describes their nesting habits as: “Red-tailed hawks typically do not begin breeding until their third year. Pairs build a large stick nest near the top of a tree (usually deciduous) at the edge of open canopy woods. In central Minnesota, farm and suburban woodlots are often are home to a pair of nesting red-tails. Two to four eggs are usually laid in April or May, hatching in about 30 days. The young remain in the vicinity of the nest until they can fly, then follow their parents as they learn to forage for themselves.” The St. Paul Audubon describes the hawks as Highway Hawks. If you drive along MN, WI or Iowa highways, you’re sure to see the regal bird perched on a pole or sign. “Red-tailed hawks hunt metro-area freeways for food by perching on light poles, then swooping in for a kill.” “Red-tails are the superlative raptor: the largest hawk in our area, the best known of the hawks and, some feel, the most beautiful. They’re also the easiest to recognize: If you see a large hawk with a red-tail, it’s a red-tailed hawk.” I look forward to seeing some youngsters!

A Red Rose

A Red Rose

A Red Rose

A red rose is a classic flower that is commonly recognized. Growing a classic red rose can be a little bit of a challenge – especially here – but it is possible, as the photo testifies. This is from the Duluth, MN Rose garden taken late this summer (September, 2014). I think it is a “Champlain” rose. It had many, prolific, blooms. In this area, some people “tip” their roses to help them endure the cold winters. But there are multiple approaches. In any case, it is essential for the plant to be hardy in USDA zone 4 .

Strawberry Fields

Gomphrena

Gomphrena

I’ve been growing Gomphrena (Gomphrena haageana) ‘Strawberry Fields’ for several years. They make a great dried flower that retains most of its red color for weeks. In zone 4, they really need to be started inside well before the frost has left. This year several stems reached about 18 inches tall.

Red Oak

Red Oak Leaves

Red Oak Leaves

I think this is a Red Oak (Quercus rubra) but, the leaves are definitely red! The reds of this year seem to be more intense than usual. The red oak is also known as eastern red oak, mountain red oak, and gray oak. Red oaks are hardy to zone 3 and grow to heights of 70 feet tall. They are a common beauty in the landscape of zone 4.

Dogwood turning Red

Red Twig Dogwood

Red Twig Dogwood

This a native red twig dogwood that grows at the edge of our field. The berries have been picked clean from this bush.

Royal Catchfly

Royal Catchfly

Royal Catchfly

I had never seen this flowering plant before today. I think it is Royal catchfly (Silene regia). [It might be Fire Pink (Silene virginica)] At first, I thought it was a dianthus (and it is in the same family) but the color was so strikingly red and the petals, so different – I wasn’t sure what it was. I think, in Wisconsin, it is considered an endangered plant. It is an attractive flower; subtle in size but conspicuous in its bright beauty.
The plant is about two feet tall and the flowers spread about 1 – 1.5 inches across (petal tip to tip). I did not detect a fragrance (but, that could be my nose). It is near a hummingbird feeder, so I hope the birds enjoy it too!

 

Red Twig Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

I seldom think of red as a spring color; but this dogwood has intensified its coloring and is beautifully red.