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The Red Tail Hawk

I thought I would share some pictures of a special friend of mine, along with some cool facts and snaps I got of her and her chick. He doesn’t look so much like a chick, but he his not as big as his mother. She still keeps a very close eye on him. It? I don’t know if it is male of female.

It’s easy to tell the males from the females when they are flying, the male always flies above her, sometimes so high you can only see a speck of dark against the blue sky, while she flies closer to the ground.

You know what a Red Tailed Hawk sounds like! If you’ve ever seen a movie like a western. That screech you hear is always a sound track for the Red Tailed Hawk.

I call this one my friend because she is in the tree in my backyard every morning, but you might notice different scenes in the pictures. This is because she seems to love to go on our walks with us.

I am not sure if it’s the dogs that scare up rabbits out of the bush or what, but I look up and she is always circling lazily above.

Getting photos of her wasn’t easy, and are not photographer quality. It took two months for me to be able to raise a camera without her flying off. Eventually she got used to that thing that was pointing at her.

The wingspan is around 44-52 inches. (114-133 cm)

Although they are large they only weigh about 31-51 ounces. (690-1460 g)

When mating they soar in big circles high above the ground, the male shoots down steeply, dives to the female and touches her briefly. The pair can then be seen locking talons and falling in spirals to the ground before pulling away.

Pairs of hawks have been seen hunting together in one tree on opposite sides to catch squirrels.

The oldest known wild hawk was at least 30 years and 8 months old where it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.

They eat rabbits, squirrel, rats, mice and other rodents.

They also eat birds, snakes and frogs.

The crows around here chase them off, and the hawks usually leave after much harassing.

Both members build the nest, or simply add onto a previous nest. You can see them in the crowns of tall trees that have a view of the landscape. The nests are tall piles of sticks up to 6 feet high and 3 feet across lined with bark and strips of fresh and dry plants. It takes about 4-7 days to build.

Sometimes when tall trees are not available they may nest on a cliff edge or window ledge, even billboards. They adapt very well. The photo below shows how they can hide in plain sight.

I hope you have enjoyed these little tidbits of information and photos. I will leave you with my favorite photo. Have a great day.


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Written by Kim_Johnson


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