Although it is less well-known than its relative the Red-tailed Hawk, the Red-shouldered Hawk was formerly the most prevalent hawk species in much of North America. In urban and suburban environments, as well as in sections of their range, these hawks are becoming more frequent. The population appears to be expanding rapidly. About Red-shouldered Hawks, here are 14 fascinating facts.
FACTS ABOUT RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS
1. WHERE DO RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS LIVE?
An eastern population and a western population of Red-shouldered Hawks exist. The eastern population is significantly larger and more widespread than the western. It can be found from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts to the eastern boundary of the Great Plains, ranging from southern Canada south through eastern Mexico. The northernmost hawks that live in Canada migrate south, and the hawks that can be found in Mexico only exist during the winter, however they don’t migrate across most of their range.
Baja California and the north coast of California west of the Sierra Nevada mountains are home to the western population, which has a much smaller range. This group has recently expanded into Oregon, Arizona, and eastern California through the Sierra Nevada range. The western population of hawks does not migrate.
2. HOW LONG DO RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS LIVE?
In the wild, red-shouldered hawks live for 15 to 19 years. When it died, the oldest wild hawk known to scientists was 26 years old. Among wild birds, whose lifespans are typically short, this is remarkable.
3. WHAT DO RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS EAT?
The diet of red-shouldered hawks is extremely diverse, and they may eat a variety of tiny mammals. Voles, mice, and chipmunks are some of the most common rodents. When a hawk’s preferred prey, rabbits and squirrels, are scarce, they will be eaten. Amphibians and reptiles will be hunted, as will other birds and even huge insects.
4. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS AND RED-TAILED HAWKS?
Red-tailed hawks have crimson tails, whereas Red-shouldered Hawks have crimson shoulders, therefore the obvious answer is crimson. There are, of course, other distinctions. The wings of Red-tailed Hawks are broader than those of Red-shouldered Hawks. Red-tailed hawks are seen in numerous regions that Red-shouldered Hawks don’t inhabit, such as the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, although they have somewhat different ranges.
5. WILL RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS ATTACK HUMANS?
No, usually not the case. Red-shouldered Hawks are a non-aggressive species that isn’t known for attacking humans. Nesting hawks, on the other hand, may perceive humans as a danger and attack if you get too close to their nest.
In certain areas, aggressive nesting hawks have become a problem. During the nesting season, people who live near hawk nests have claimed to be assaulted on a regular basis. The injuries aren’t usually serious, but they may still be uncomfortable. These are mostly warning strikes.
6. WHERE DO RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS NEST?
The nests of red-shouldered hawks are usually built high off the ground, although they’re still beneath the forest canopy. They build their nests in a fork of the tree, rather than on a branch, and prefer broad-leafed trees to conifers.
They’ll nest in suburban parks often and look for a suitable tree near a pond or swamp.
7. DO RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS HUNT AT NIGHT?
Red-shouldered Hawks are nocturnal birds that do not hunt. In reality, since they can’t see as well and are at risk of serious injury if they fly in the dark, they don’t like to fly at night.
8. ARE RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS RARE?
Although they are not considered endangered or vulnerable, Red-shouldered Hawks are uncommon. Because their preferred forest habitats are becoming less available, the eastern population seems to be declining, but steadily, whereas the western population is growing.
Hawks are increasingly nesting in park regions as a consequence of the loss of forest habitat caused by developing cities and suburbs. As a result, violent confrontations between nesting hawks and humans are now more likely.
9. DO RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS EAT SNAKES?
Red-shouldered Hawks do eat snakes, despite the fact that snakes aren’t usually a favorite food. Red-shouldered Hawks have a unique behavior that some birdwatchers have noticed. They won’t congregate to eat water snakes, but they will in places with substantial snake populations. Instead, they wait until a snake has captured a fish before stealing it. It saves them the trouble of cooking a more complicated meal.
10. WILL A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK EAT A CHICKEN?
Little chickens are definitely eaten by Red-shouldered Hawks, as are Cooper’s Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks. When given the chance, these hawks will attack and devour chickens, preferring tiny rodents and other smaller prey.
11. HOW MANY EGGS DO RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS LAY?
Each breeding season, red-shouldered Hawks produce four eggs. However, since illness and predation take their toll, it is unusual for all four hatchlings to survive to maturity.
12. COULD A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK KILL A SMALL DOG?
Cats and small dogs have been observed being killed by larger hawks like the Red-tailed Hawk, which is uncommon. The smallest dog breeds, including chihuahuas and other toy breeds, might be threatened by red-shouldered Hawks. It would be very unusual for pets to be attacked.
13. WHAT SCARES RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS?
Loud noises are the best way to drive a Red-shouldered Hawk away if you feel the need. They’ll be frightened off by shouting, clapping, banging objects together, or any other source of loud, sudden noises. They aren’t likely to return quickly once they’re startled.
14. HOW DO YOU ATTRACT RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS?
Conversely, you may attract the prey of a Red-shouldered Hawk if you want to attract one. Little birds will be attracted to bird feeders and bathwater, which may be eaten by Red-shouldered Hawks. Red-shouldered Hawks are frequently seen hanging around the yards of those with backyard chicken coops.