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Red Tailed Hawks

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

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Our resident red-tails both have permanent injuries and are non- releasable. Red-tail #1 was found in the road with head trauma. She also suffered lasting nerve and muscle damage to her feet, presumably from being caught in a foot hold trap, which are still legal in Pennsylvania. She came to us from Delaware Valley Raptor Center in Milford, Pennsylvania in late 2013. Although we do not bring her on outreach programs, her presence in our aviary provides an opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of foot hold traps.

Red-tail #2 came to us from Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays, NY in early 2014. She suffered a fracture to her wing bone due to a shotgun injury. Eight pieces of shot were found in her body. The bird was sent for orthopedic surgery to correct the fracture, but failed to regain flight capabilities needed to survive in the wild. She is a crowd favorite at educational programs.

Average Height: 17.7 - 22 inches (male)

Average Weight: 1.5 - 3 pounds (male)

Wingspan: 44.9 - 52.4 inches (male)

Life Span: On average, 21 years in the wild.

Description: Red-tailed Hawks often have pale underparts, with streaked bellies, and a reddish-brown to chocolate brown back and wings. Their tail is red from the top, hence their name.

Call: A loud, screaming “kee-eeee-ar” that lasts 2-3 seconds.

Range: These hawks are found all throughout the United States.

Habitat: Red-tailed Hawks prefer open areas, and are mostly found near fields perched on fences and telephone poles.

Diet: Red-tailed Hawks eat mammals such as rabbits, skunks, voles, moles, and mice. They will also eat small birds.

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