Introduction - Red-Tailed HawkOne common deciduous forest animals is the Red-Tailed Hawk; in fact it is one of the most common bird species in North America. This animal is also referred to as the Buzzard Hawk, Red Hawk and Chicken Hawk. This is a bird who can survive in a variety of habitats and climates. They are commonly found in deciduous forests throughout the United States where there is no shortage of food for them. When hunger strikes, they prey on most of the small deciduous forest animals and insects, some of which include moles, weasels, birds, squirrels, opossums and mice. What sets this hawk apart from other hawks is the distinctive loud screeching call it makes. The list of facts below explains why they make this call in addition to much more interesting information on the Red-Tailed Hawk written for both kids and adults.
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General Facts about the Red-Tailed Hawk
- Red-Tailed Hawks are skilled hunters who put their keen eye-sight to good use. They prefer to perch high above the ground to seek out their prey and can often be seen on telephone poles and wires and in the tree tops.
- The loud shrieking call of the Red-Tailed Hawk, that is often used on television to represent other types of birds, is usually done while in flight and is a sign of hunger.
- In an attempt to avoid predators, the Red-Tailed Hawk builds its nest, which will be used for many years to come, high in the trees. It is made of a combination of sticks, leaves and bark.
- Although the Red-Tailed Hawk was at one time becoming an endangered bird, it has made a comeback in recent years. It is still protected by the Migratory Bird Act which makes it illegal to hunt or capture these birds for any reason.
- The Red Fox, Golden Eagle, Great Horned Owl and Raccoon are all predators of the Red-Tailed Hawk.
Red-Tailed Hawk Descriptive Facts
- The Red-Tailed Hawks have a wingspan of about 4 feet (1.2 meters). Their broad, powerful wings allow them to soar high above the ground with ease.
- The body is colored in many hues of brown, grey and cream with the exception of the brick red tail feathers that give the hawk its name.
- The Red-Tailed Hawk is classified as a raptor. This particular group of birds has specific adaptations that set them apart from other birds. They have talons, a hooked beak and keen eyesight; all used for catching and killing prey.
- Four sharp talons on each foot about 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) long help the hawk to kill by piercing and crushing its prey once it is caught.
- The female bird is considerably bigger, heavier and more aggressive than the male bird.
Red-Tailed Hawk Breeding Facts
- Red-Tailed Hawks mate for life and share the responsibility of incubating their eggs, and then caring for and feeding the young after they hatch.
- During mating season, which runs from March through May, males and females will soar and glide through the air in a courtship ritual that ends with two birds rapidly spiraling into the treetops.
- By the age of 3 years old, Red-Tailed Hawks are mature enough to mate.
- The female hawk will lay between 1 and 5 eggs each year. They will be incubated for about four weeks. After hatching the baby birds will remain in the nest for six weeks before going out on their own.