Our male Red Tailed Hawk came to CA&NC in 1995 as an adult with a broken left wing, most likely from being hit by a car. The improper healing of the wing deemed him non-releasable. He has brilliant tail feather coloration and is an excellent display bird.
Our female Red Tailed Hawk came as an adult from a wildlife rehabilitator in New Market, TN in summer 2010 after flying through the grill of a car, dislocating her right shoulder. The irreparable injury deemed her non-releasable. She has been glove trained, and is used in educational programs at the center.
They live together in the Wildlife Wanderland. They each receive 1 medium rat 6 days a week.
Forests with open areas
Length 17 22 in
Wingspan 45 52 in
Weight 2 3.25 lbs
Most Red-tailed Hawks are rich brown above and pale below (this is called counter shading) which is easy to see during flight, with a streaked belly and a dark bar on the wings leading edge. The tail is strikingly red with a single black band toward the bottom.
A red tailed hawk call is often used in movies for any bird of prey. Sound is a hoarse, screaming cheeeerrr, falling in pitch and intensity.
Mostly small mammals but they eat a greater variety of prey items than all North American raptors except for the Golden Eagle.
1 5 eggs, average 2, once a year. Usually mate for life. During courtship, Red-tailed Hawks soar in large circles. The male dives steeply, then shoots up again at an angle nearly as steep. After several of these swoops he approaches the female from above, extends his legs, and touches her briefly. Sometimes, the pair grab onto one other, clasp talons, and plummet in spirals toward the ground before pulling away. This display may appear as aggressive behavior when, in fact, it is not.
Average 10 21 years in the wild; Up to 29 years in captivity
- Red-tailed Hawks have tremendous eyesight. Their vision is up to 8 times sharper than humans. Humans can see a grasshopper 30 feet away and a hawk can see it from 100 240 feet away. They can also see color wave lengths in the ultraviolet spectrum that are invisible to the human eye.
- Red-tailed Hawks have been seen hunting as a pair, guarding opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels.
- As in most birds of prey, female Red-tailed Hawks are typically larger than males.