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Red-tailed Hawks

The thrilling screech of eagles and hawks in Hollywood films sends a recognizable tone for a human audience.  For animals in the wild, however, that sound means only one thing: the Red-Tailed Hawk is near.  

With a wingspan near four feet, the Red-Tailed Hawk soars above open fields looking for prey.  These large birds only weigh in at 3 pounds max where as a dog the same size would weigh ten times as much.  Females are larger than males and have a similar appearance to eagles from a distance with their broad, rounded wings.

Their wings flap in a heavy, slow motion using the wind to soar in wide circles over a field.  The Red-Tailed Hawk will outstretch his or her legs and descend in a slow dive when ready to attack their prey.  Voles, mice, wood rats, rabbits, and ground squirrels often fall victim to the Red-Tailed Hawks grasp.

Look for these birds high in the sky during your next drive up Northern Indiana or possibly perched on a telephone pole.  These birds tend to nest on the tops of tall trees or even in high cliffs.  Mating pairs typically last for life and the birds’ are very protective of their young.

To hear the chilling scream of the Red-tailed Hawk visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology page.


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