Bird of the Month: Red Tailed Hawk

Family: Buteoninae Red Tailed Hawk (Buteo Jamaicensis) Length: Crow size

Description: Soaring high in the sky reveals the white underside of the tail, streaks across the stomach & a chunky form. The Rufous red of the upperside of the tail can be seen when the bird is perched or ripping apart its food. Last year a Red Tailed Hawk was perched on a tree stump in my back garden with a garter snake in its talons ripping it apart with its beak. The snakes often sunbathe on the hillside. I have also seen one flying over my garden with a black squirrel also in its talons, still alive. The birds nest in Wychwood Park just north of Davenport Rd West of Bathurst St. During the spring & early summer a pair are often seen hovering or flying over the Davenport escarpment where I live ready to grab a squirrel, small bird or snake. On the morning of Sept 24th, 2015 approx. 8.30am – 8.45am we believe one was seen in a fir tree at the school feeding. The tree branches mostly obscured the bird but due to its size, the consensus was it was a red tailed hawk.

Habitat: They favour open country for hunting with woodlands for nesting. This landscape is common in S.Ontario, hence the bird is seen frequently. Wychwood Park area borders on the Davenport Escarpment which appears to harbour their feeding requirements.

Nest: A large nest of sticks in a fork of a deciduous or fir tree & generally contain 2 – 4 eggs.

Notes: While soaring the bird calls with a screeching sound “Keeer-r-r” Ref.: Birds of Toronto and vicinity by Gerald McKeating


Post by Ron Corton