Red-tailed Hawk in alkali meadow
Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis
Never to soar again. 
As human beings, we all have a trusteeship responsibility for all living creatures, both great and small. If you choose not to respect the sanctity of life, don't ruin it for others who do.
By William Barse,  Maryland Wildlife Rehabilitator
June 24, 2002. This magnificent Red-tailed Hawk was used for target practice by an irresponsible individual with a rifle.  ("Irresponsible" is not my first choice of adjectives!) 

The hawks at the Preserve have nests full of hungry eaglets and this hawk is probably one of our new parents from the Sycamore Trail nest near the "climbing tree."  She was spotted in the Alkali Meadow near the parking area by a anonymous passerby that called to alert us of the wounded bird. Which means the bird must have been shot as it soared over the Preserve.
This is an outrage! 

Knowing that this hawk would need special attention, we, Connor Neuhaus and I, persuaded the hawk to convalesce near the now vacant caretaker site. Here it could possibly capture a rabbit or squirrel and we would bring it chicken gizzards and fresh roadkill, plus it would have protective cover from predators. But after five days she was no longer there.
view from the rear - notice damaged right wing

From past experience, we knew that the bird would be euthanized if taken to a rehab center. This is due to the fact that there are too many Red-tailed Hawks found in this same condition, there's not enough room for them at  the centers. Hawks that do survive the attack, the fall and the injury eventually become terribly handicapped and unable to care for themselves and must be euthanized.

I'm not an advocate for gun control, but this situation causes my opinion to waiver. Gunowner's have a choice what to shoot. Why do they choose to kill a precious creature such as this - a symbol of the Western Free Spirit?

Irene Lindsey

Description: males: 1.25-2 lb females: 2-4 lb LENGTH 18-25 in WINGSPAN 4 ft 
A long-lived (20+ years) large stocky hawk that has a typical light-phase with a whitish breast and rust-colored tail. Young birds are duller, more streaked and lack rust-colored tail of the adult. They are distinguished from Red-shouldered and Swainson’s hawks by their white chest, stocky build, and broader, more rounded wings. This species is quite variable in color, especially in the West, where blackish individuals occur; these usually retain the rusty tail.

Adaptations: The Red-tailed Hawk has extremely keen eyesight and can often be seen perching in a tree at the edge of a meadow, watching for the slightest movement in the grass below.

Courtship/Gestation/Birth: Most hawks build bulky nests of twigs, bark, and leaves high in trees. The eggs are usually white or bluish white, variably blotched and spotted with shades of brown. The young are covered with white down, and are relatively helpless at hatching. They grow slowly, and are dependent on their parents for food even after they have fledged.

Diet: mammals including mice, rats, moles, shrews, squirrels, pocket gophers, cottontails, opossums, muskrats, weasels, feral cats (70-85%); birds including ducks, coots, pigeons, quail, rails, gallinules, doves, woodpeckers, songbirds, pheasants, crows and rarely poultry (10-15%); reptiles and amphibians (3-10%); fish (.5%); invertebrates (1-5%).
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Awesome Photo

Red-tailed hawk harrassing a Golden Eagle

The upper bird is a Red-tailed Hawk. The lower bird is a Golden Eagle. The hawk is "mobbing" (harassing) the eagle because the eagle is on the hawk's turf. The eagle has rolled on his back and has his talons up to defend himself against the hawk. 


Above photo by Chuck Tribolet, using a Nikon 600mm lens, a Nikon 2x doubler, and a Nikon SLR body on Kodak Lumiere 100X (LPZ) slide film. They were scanned with a Nikon CoolScan. Digital image processing was done under OS/2 using ColorWorks V2 (tm) by SPG. And no, the two birds were not moved closer digitally. 
Last Modified: Tuesday, 21-Jul-1998 13:39:39 PDT 

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