Melanistic red tail hawks have more melanin or pigment in their feathers than other hawks making them distinctive. It used to be thought these morphological distinctions were an isolated variant, but now scientists are noticing behavioral differences associated with the changes in feather color.
Melanistic hawks typically let me get much closer than other hawks and I wonder if this might be due to behavioral differences associated with their color variance. After all, it is often true, those who are different, are also braver!
I wish I could travel back in time to the mid-1800’s and live at Wilder Ranch. You are looking at the original ranch buildings which are now a museum.
The Wilder’s bought the property as a dairy farm in the late 1800’s.
The ranch covers 7000 acres of pristine coastal and marine habitat in Northern California’s Santa Cruz County.
The good news is, the Wilder family sold the property to the state in the 1960’s and it is now a protected marine and wildlife sanctuary and state park.
As you can see, it is a rich habitat, home to 1000’s of birds. I was amazed by the number of bird species I saw and photographed here.
The ranch has some 34 miles of hiking trails, all with stunning views of the coast and coastal valleys.
It is also a diverse marine environment with otters, seals and whales. Even Blue Whales are here, attracted by the mile deep Monterey Trench, the deepest marine canyon off the west coast of North America.
Camping is prohibited to protect the wildlife, but you can spend as many days as you like exploring the ranch on foot. I recommend visiting in winter when the whales are swimming by!