This hawk is a bird of the Americas, but they are found in Europe – in particular in Britain – as the result of escapes from captivity. They are popular hawks for falconry, being relatively easy to train. However, when released they don’t always return to their owner. The large feral pigeon population of London’s Trafalgar Square is controlled by the tactical deployment of Harris Hawks at dawn.
I was recently able to get quite close to one at an Oak Fair in Dorset, where watery sunshine brought out the wonderfully rich colouring of the bird. I only has a snapping camera with me, but these photos give a pretty good idea of the bird and its plumage. I’ve included a shot of its characteristic white-tipped tail.