Keep your eyes to the skies next time you’re on a long car ride – you’ll likely spot a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) making long, loopy circles over roadside fields. This is one of the most common hawk species in North America. You can also see them sitting on poles and posts, scouting for unfortunate small mammals for their next meal.
Red-tailed hawks tend to attack their prey in a slow dive. Prey can consist of any small mammal – squirrels, rabbits and mice, for example – as well as the occasional small bird.
Red-tailed hawks can be found across most of North America.
These magnificent hunters are widespread and common, even adapting to life in the city in some cases. Their numbers are thought to be increasing.
Red-tailed hawks usually lay about three eggs. Once they hatch, the female stays with the nest and the male brings food to the young. These hawks have a distinctive, high-pitched call when descending on prey. Not surprisingly, they have excellent eyesight.