Red-Shouldered Hawk

Posted on 15. Aug, 2011 by in World of Wonder, WOW! Blog

This immature Red-shouldered Hawk has been hanging around the Hobbs Hill neighborhood in Davidson for the past couple of weeks. Hobbs Hill is blessed with a lot of trees and a pond near the neighborhood and both are things that are attractive to Red-Shouldered Hawks. These hawks are members of the group called buteo which includes other familiar hawks such as the Red-Tailed Hawk and the Broad-winged Hawk. The adult Red-Shouldered Hawk is a medium to large hawk with wings and tail striped black and white. When in flight pale crescents are seen near the wingtips. It is red barred underneath while the immature bird has brown and white streaks underneath as you can see in this photo. The Red-tailed hawk is familiar on the road side. If you see a hawk while driving you are most likely seeing a Red-Tailed. They like to hunt in open fields. On the other hand, the Red-shouldered hawk hunts by dropping on prey from a perch in the tree canopy. It eats small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. It may hunt on the ground when catching mammals as the emerge from burrows.


American Crows are sometimes seen chasing Red-shouldered Hawks and the hawks sometimes chase crows. They steal food from each other! Crows and Red-shouldered Hawks sometimes attack Great -Horned Owls. These owls are also known to steal nestling hawks.

We often see and hear Red-shouldered hawks soaring above Davidson. They have a distinctive call described as “kee-aah” often repeated many times.

This young neighborhood visitor was still learning to hunt and one person observed him going after earthworms that had emerged from the ground after one of our recent downpours. Hopefully he has learned more about hunting and will grow up to be one of our beautiful neighborhood residents.


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