Red-tailed Hawk Feathers (14Sept2022)

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On Wikipedia, they say in the entry “Red-tailed Hawk:”

“Generally it favors varied habitats with open woodland, woodland edge and open terrain. It is legally protected in Canada, Mexico, and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. … The red-tailed hawk is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo, typically weighing from 690 to 1,600 g (1.5 to 3.5 lb) and measuring 45–65 cm (18–26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110–141 cm (3 ft 7 in – 4 ft 8 in).

“The diet of red-tailed hawks is highly variable and reflects their status as opportunistic generalists, but in North America, they are most often predators of small mammals such as rodents of an immense diversity of families and species. Prey that is terrestrial and at least partially diurnal is preferred, so types such as ground squirrels are preferred where they naturally occur.[8] Over much of the range, smallish rodents such as voles alternated with larger rabbits and hares often collectively form the bulk of the diet. Large numbers of birds and reptiles can occur in the diet in several areas, and can even be the primary foods. Meanwhile, amphibians, fish and invertebrates can seem rare in the hawk’s regular diet, but they are not infrequently taken by immature hawks.”

On All About Birds, they say in the entry “Red-tailed Hawk:

“Red-tailed Hawks occupy just about every type of open habitat on the continent. This includes desert, scrublands, grasslands, roadsides, fields and pastures, parks, broken woodland, and (in Mexico) tropical rainforest.

“Food Small AnimalsMammals make up the bulk of most Red-tailed Hawk meals. Frequent victims include voles, mice, wood rats, rabbits, snowshoe hares, jackrabbits, and ground squirrels. The hawks also eat birds, including pheasants, bobwhite, starlings, and blackbirds; as well as snakes and carrion. Individual prey items can weigh anywhere from less than an ounce to more than 5 pounds.

“They frequently chase off other hawks, eagles, and Great Horned Owls. Courting birds fly with legs hanging beneath them, or chase and swoop after each other, sometimes locking talons (see Cool Facts). Mated pairs typically stay together until one of the pair dies.”

On Audubon, they say in the entry “Red-tailed Hawk: Buteo jamaicensis:”

“Open country, woodlands, prairie groves, mountains, plains, roadsides. Found in any kind of terrain that provides both some open ground for hunting and some high perches. Habitats may include everything from woodland with scattered clearings to open grassland or desert with a few trees or utility poles.

“This is the most widespread and familiar large hawk in North America, bulky and broad-winged, designed for effortless soaring. An inhabitant of open country, it is commonly seen perched on roadside poles or sailing over fields and woods. Although adults usually can be recognized by the trademark reddish-brown tail, the rest of their plumage can be quite variable, especially west of the Mississippi: Western Red-tails can range from blackish to rufous-brown to nearly white.

“Varied, includes small mammals, birds, reptiles. Diet varies with location and season. Mammals such as voles, rats, rabbits, and ground squirrels often major prey; also eats many birds (up to size of pheasant) and reptiles, especially snakes. Sometimes eats bats, frogs, toads, insects, various other creatures; may feed on carrion.”

And this one might be “graphic” or “brutal” for some — but it’s nothing compared to what some humans do! And we all are involved in making this happen for us: we all have to eat.

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