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Red-tailed Hawk

Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis

Species Ambassador


Our Red-tailed Hawk came to Blandford Nature Center in 1987. She was hit by a car in Grand Rapids, which left her blind in her left eye.  Birds of prey need both eyes to have the necessary depth perception to hunt effectively.  Ruby would slowly starve to death if left to fend for herself in the wild.


Status of Red-tailed Hawks in Michigan

Red-tailed Hawks are common and year-round residents in most of the Lower Peninsula.


They make a descending scream: keeearrrr. This call is often used in movies when you see a bird flying in the sky, whether it’s a Red-tail Hawk or not.

Click Below to Hear a Red-Tailed Hawk!


Red-tailed Hawks prefer open country with some trees, roadsides, fields, woodlots, and mixed forests.


Red-tailed Hawks look for prey from either a high perch or while soaring in the sky.  Once they spot food, they drop down to capture it. They eat small mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.

The Role of Red Tailed-Hawks in Our Ecosystems

-Red-tailed Hawks help farms by eating mice, moles and other rodents that destroy crops.

-They also provide habitat for small birds such as House Sparrows that live in Red-tailed Hawk nests.

Threats to Red-Tailed Hawks

There are currently no serious threats to this species.

Interesting Fact

-It takes 2 years before a Red-tailed Hawk reaches adulthood and gets its characteristic red       tail.

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