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Red-tailed Hawk Basic Facts and Photos

by Charly Mann

Red-Tailed Hawk in flight over a beautiful field of grain

The average red-tailed hawk lives twenty years in the wild. Its eyesight is eight times more powerful than a human’s. Like the song Oklahoma says these birds do "make lazy circles in the sky." They soar very high, and use their great vision to spot rodents, rabbits and snakes below.

They usually weigh between 3 and 5 pounds. Females are nearly 1/3 larger than males. Their wingspan is 56 inches. They can carry almost half their body weight in flight. It is not unusual, for example, for one to lift a duck out of a pond.

Red-Tailed Hawk in a stately pose

Red-tailed hawks are great at reducing rat populations. Almost 90% of their diet is small rodents.

These birds are classified as raptors. This means they are part of the family of birds that eat meat, and use their feet, instead of their beak, to capture prey. Red-tailed hawks, like all raptors, have a sharp, hooked beak, and powerful feet with curved, sharp talons. Their talons are their main weapon for capturing and killing animals.

Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

The Red-tailed hawk is very intelligent and is one of the easier raptors to tame. Throughout the United States and much of the world hawking or falconry is a popular sport in which trained hawks capture game. Red-tailed hawks actually train their falconers as much as their falconers train them.

The female (hen) Red-tailed Hawk is the most desirable in falconry because of its larger size, which allows it to take medium sized animals including ducks and pheasant. They are a very relaxed and friendly bird in captivity, and love to go hunting. They need to be played with (trained) or taken hunting every couple of weeks or they will revert to their wild state. They can fairly effortlessly be returned to the wild before breeding season.

photos by Kathryn Mann



Dete      2:47 AM Sat 12/26/2015

We have red-tailed hawks in our yard, but they're usually way up at the top of the trees. Great photo! One of my grdanson's favorite books is Bird Songs, by Les Beletsky, with the audio bird songs. To keep it from being too overwhelming (250 songs), he has decided he just wants to hear the owls and the hawks. http://qpzpav.com [url=http://xkmtxrkjgkl.com]xkmtxrkjgkl[/url] [link=http://uremlxwfxda.com]uremlxwfxda[/link]

Amir khan      5:07 AM Sun 6/21/2015

I have many hawks
I sall it who Buy it

Amir khan      5:05 AM Sun 6/21/2015

I have many hawks
I sall it who Buy it

Birdwatching Geema      11:18 AM Thu 12/25/2014

Looking out a window checking my bird feeder this morning. There were no birds in site. I looked around my yard and spotted a hawk setting on a fence post in the back yard. It was a beautiful Red Tailed Hawk. I did not see it a first, it blended in so well. I wish I could have gotten a picture of it.

Angie Creek      2:08 PM Sat 7/26/2014

Went to water the cows this morning and found a young hawk in the trough.. Got him/her out of the water and dried it off. It's perched in my bathroom as of now :).... We live on a farm, so we are going to take it to Keystone Lake tonight and let it soar :)

John Cross      10:27 AM Sun 5/25/2014

I retired in 2004 and discovered that a Red-Tailed Shouldered Hawk had a nest in a red cedar tree next to my house. I decide to take some picture so took out my 25 ft. extension ladder; leaned it on a red cedar next to the tree with the nest and took pictures from May 17 through June 6. I would climb to the top of the ladder then climb a few more feet to a limb to sit on and take pictures. I took pictures of the young hawks until all three left the nest. I tried to paste a picture to this post but wasn't able to. I was able to photograph the female with the chicks on two occasions.


Steve& Dawn      1:17 PM Mon 1/20/2014

Yesterday, one of these beautiful birds had its freshly caught lunch in our view. Today while on the road, we counted ten of these birds along a stretch of road.
We enjoy them..


rachel proctor      7:59 AM Tue 12/24/2013

nice, we have one in are back yard, too.

Mr.h8ter      2:19 PM Wed 9/18/2013

Booooooooooooooooooo get a life hacks

Jan Standgield      9:51 PM Wed 5/22/2013

We have had two in our yard lately. They have never been this intrusive. They attacked a mockingbird nest and have been fighting or mating just above our roof top. They have never come in this close to the house before. We have a six lbs. Maltese dog. Is he in any danger? Otherwise,besides destroying the nest,which was disturbing, they are beautiful and amazing to watch. We live on 117 in Sapulpa. In town, but large wooded lots.


lefty      10:16 AM Fri 4/26/2013

I have noticed 30-40 hawks gathered in unplowed fields the last couple of days. Any ideas about why? My husband thinks since we have had rain they gettting worms.


Joseph      12:14 PM Sun 4/21/2013

lots of good facts and pictures for my project!


Keith      4:07 AM Wed 10/10/2012

Hi there would you mind letting me know which web host you're utilizing? I've loaded
your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a reasonable price?
Kudos, I appreciate it!

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Bird lover      3:53 PM Fri 9/28/2012

This month we have had a Red Tailed Hawk move into our back yard. They must be very territorial because this afternoon, I was watching two fight each other. Then they would take their separate perches and scream repeatedly back and forth at each other. Then it would be on again, swooping at each other. The other one's calls became more like a distress call. They eventually battled their way out of view. It was an interesting afternoon.

harst      9:40 AM Wed 9/12/2012

sweet pictures whoever took these i salute you

Susan      7:34 PM Sun 7/1/2012

Thank you for the great pictures. We have had many birds of prey in our back yard including Hoot owls and this year the Red Tailed hawk built a new nest and we are observing both male and female. Identified for sure by your web site.


citlali      2:40 PM Fri 2/3/2012

im using this for a project

Eleanor Dennison      9:49 AM Wed 10/12/2011

Your site helped me to identify the lovely bird of prey I saw in my neighborhood this morning while walking my dog. Beautiful Red Tailed sat calmly on a power line not 20 feet from me and watched me as I was admiring it. I was slow on the uptake and didn't get my phone out to take a picture before it got bored and glided away.

Green Elf      10:32 AM Tue 4/19/2011

These are incredible pictures. I'm a photographer and i love raptors, especialy Red-tailed Hawks.

yo      11:08 AM Sun 2/27/2011

very very nice perfect for kids.

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Uplifting Visions
a guide to happiness, good health, and success
Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
by Charly Mann

From the age of seven I have been enchanted with the idea of living happily ever after, and have made it a life quest to find that answer. I have spoken to hundreds of people – usually older and wiser than me, and read countless books and articles on the subject. In my website Uplifting Visions I share what I consider the best insights I have learned about achieving happiness in life.

Oklahoma Birds Listed by Color

House Finch - male (carpodacus mexicanus)
Purple Finch - male (carpodacus purpureus)
Northern Cardinal - male (cardinalis cardinalis)
Painted Bunting - male (passerina ciris)
Summer Tanager - male (piranga rubra)

Baltimore Oriole - male (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - male (icterus spurius)

Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia )
Baltimore Oriole - female (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - female (icterus spurius)
Summer Tanager - female (piranga rubra)
Yellow Goldfinch - male (carduelis tristis)
Western Kingbird (tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Meadowlark (sturnella magna)

Malard - male (anas platyrhynchos)
Dark-eyed Junco - female (junco hyemalis)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)
Painted Bunting - female (passerina ciris)
Green Heron (butorides virescens)

Barn Swallow (hirundo rustica)
Belted Kingfisher (ceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Grosbeak - male (guiraca caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (sailia sialis)
Indigo Bunting - male (passerina cyanea)
Purple Martin - male (progne subis)

Great Blue Heron (ardea herodias)
Carolina Chickadee (poecile carolinensis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (sitta canadensis)
Grey Catbird (dumetella carolinensis)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (regulus calendula)
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (tyrannus forficatus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (sitta carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (baelophus bicolor)
American Robin (turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)
Mississippi Kite (ictinia mississippiensis)
Dickcissel (spiza americana)

American Crow (corvus brachyrhynchos)
Brown-headed Cowbird - male (molothrus ater)
European Starling (sturnus vulgaris)
Common Grackle (quiscalus quiscula)
Red-winged Blackbird - male (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Towhee (pipilo maculatus)
Turkey Vulture (cathartes aura)

Black & White
American Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (pica hudsonia)
Downey Woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
Purple Martin - female (progne subis)
Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus)
Dark-eyed Junco - male (junco hyemalis)
Loggerhead Shrike (lanius ludovicianus)

American Kestrel (falco sparverius)
Blue Grosbeak - female (guiraca caerulea)
Brown-headed Cowbird - female (molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (toxostoma rufum)
Common Nighthawk (chordeiles minor)
Carolina Wren (thryothorus ludovicianus)
Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)
Greater Roadrunner (geococcyx californianus)
Killdeer (charadrius vociferus)
Northern Bobwhite (colinus virginianus)
Red-tailed Hawk (buteo jamaicensis)
Cliff Swallow (petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Horned Lark (eremophila alpestris)
House Finch - female (carpodacus mexicanus)
Northern Flicker (colaptes auratus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (coccyzus americanus)
Mourning Dove (zenaida macroura)
Malard - female (anas platyrhynchos)
Purple Finch - female (carpodacus purpureus)
House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Indigo Bunting - female (passerina cyanea)
Red-winged Blackbird - female (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularia)
Upland Sandpiper (bartramia longicauda)
Northern Cardinal - female (cardinalis cardinalis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Yellow Goldfinch - female (carduelis tristis)
Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Wild Birds of Northeast OK

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