Inspiration – Red-tailed Hawk
Received: October 1, 2016
On October 1, 2016, Inspiration came to the World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital with a fractured wing that hadn’t healed correctly as well as a respiratory infection that caused him to collapse twice.
Luckily, our hospital staff revived him and he became our “Inspiration” and a Red-tailed Hawk ambassador.
Species: Red-tailed Hawk
Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis
Description: sturdy looking bird with short, rounded wings and fanned tails; adults have mottled chocolate-colored backs with lighter brown shoulder patches; the tail is brick red, from which they originally derived their name; the breast is white with a dark belly band across the abdomen; however, some birds are so light as to appear albino; immature birds are heavily banded (vertically) on the breast and chest and have a grayish to brownish tail with black bands; immature birds develop the adult coloration after the first year; juveniles’ eye color also changes during this period from a yellowish brown to a dark brown at maturity
Sex: virtually identical; females slightly larger than males
Age: 25 years
Weight: 2-4 lbs.
Habitat: wide range of habitats; woodlands adjacent to open country is preferred; also inhabit deserts, forests, various elevations; migrate in winter as far south as the Gulf Coast and Nicaragua
Status: one of the most common raptors, especially in the midwestern U.S.
Range: throughout North America
Behavior: perch atop telephone poles and tall trees, scanning the ground for prey; build large stick nests usually lined with grass, moss, and pine needles; nest usually located in a large tree between 30-60 feet in height; may have 2 or 3 alternate nests; nests average 28-38″ wide; clutch of 2-4 eggs laid; incubation by both sexes for 28-35 days; young fledge at about 42 days
Diet: opportunistic hunter; primary prey is small mammals (rabbits, squirrels); also takes rodents, snakes and fish
Vocalization: loud, high-pitched scream, “tsee-eeee-arrr”; this cry usually given in territorial defense; the scream can last for 2-3 seconds; they scream while perched or soaring