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Is at least 6 years old but actual hatching year is unknown.

Species: Red-tailed Hawk
Scientific Name: Buteo Jamaicensis
Size: Body length of 17 -22 inches, a wingspan of 3½ - 4½ feet, weighs 1½ - 3¼ pounds


Due to my curious and confident nature, I am the raptor species most commonly used by apprentice falconers. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the most widely distributed hawks in North America. There are 14 subspecies of this hawk ranging in color from the pale Krider's morph to the red rufous morph to the dark Harlan's morph. The tail of the Red-tailed Hawk does not turn “red” until its feathers molt in its 2nd summer.


Because I was hit by a car when I was 4 months old I have a bad wing injury, which has made it impossible for me to fly. Because I couldn’t go back to the wild, I have been an education ambassador for over six years.


All native birds of prey are protected by law, and anyone deliberately harming them can be prosecuted under the law. Luckily for me, a good Samaritan picked me up when I was injured and brought me in to Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation Service for care, where I recovered but my wing was permanently damaged.


Red-tailed Hawks are found in North America and scattered through Central America and the islands of the West Indies. They inhabit rural areas, mountain forests, tropical rainforests, deserts or open fields interspersed with woods or bluffs. Northern populations migrate south during the winter.


Small to medium-sized mammals are the preferred food of this species, especially mice, ground squirrels, and jackrabbits. They will also take birds like pigeons and doves feeding on the ground and small to medium reptiles. Red-tailed Hawks hunt by swooping down from a high point, whether a high perch or soaring in circles while scanning the ground. They swoop down to seize their prey with their feet, pursuing and grabbing up prey during low glides over the ground. They will also take food caught by other species, often called pirating.


Most medium to large birds of prey have multi-year pair bonds with their mates and will use the same hunting and nesting territory year after year if it is successful. These birds may have multiple nests in their territory and will rotate the use from one nest to the next year to year. This hawk’s large stick nest may be found in tall trees, on cliffs, in cactus, or on man-made structures. The female hawk lays 1 - 5 eggs that are incubated for 28 - 35 days. The young hawks fledge about 42 days later and can reproduce at 2 years of age.

Picture provided by Milne Photography.