Willard- Red-tailed Hawk
Hatched: Spring 2005
At the tender age of four days, Willard fell forty feet out of his nest in Bonne Terre, MO. The fall caused serious head trauma and impaired vision. He was once called Confusion because he was fostered by a pair of Harris Hawks. He was brought to the World Bird Sanctuary where he was renamed Willard. Because of his impaired vision, it was determined that he would not be a good candidate for release into the wild.
Willard became an educational bird and quickly became accustomed to traveling and crowds. He has traveled around the country to our various zoo shows, Renaissance Festivals, and area schools. In 1996 he went to our year-round program in Busch Gardens Tampa where he soon became a real crowd favorite. In 1999 he came home and has become an important part of our Raptor Awareness program. He gives area children and adult audiences an opportunity to see a familiar bird “up close and personal.”
Species: Red-tailed Hawk
Latin 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