Sequoia – Red-tailed Hawk
Hatched: Spring 1994
Sequoia was found as a baby (approximately 4-5 weeks old), in a driveway in Fredericktown, MO. He was very thin, had diarrhea, and was almost dead. The concerned homeowner brought her into the World Bird Sanctuary for treatment. At first, things did not look good for the weak, emaciated baby. With some very intensive care and treatment on the part of our staff, Sequoia was brought back to good health.
Due to the intensive treatment and constant handling required during recuperation, Sequoia had become accustomed to humans, and was very aggressive toward them. It was determined that Sequoia would not be a good candidate for release due to the lack of fear of humans.
With an incredible amount of patience and careful training, Sequoia has become a valued educational bird. Sequoia helps educate thousands each year about the plight of our native wildlife. When not out educating, she can be found in the weathering area near the outdoor exhibits.
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