Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk in Richmond Hill?

by Adriana Pisano Beaumont
(Richmond Hill, Ontario, CANADA)

On Easter Monday, we spotted, in a tall deciduous tree in the ravine behind our house, a very light, buffy, pale looking Hawk sitting on the bare branches.

He actually looked somewhat like a Snowy Owl.

With binoculars, we could clearly see a pale 'reddish-pink' tone to the body feathers, a distinct white tip at the unbanded tail and a VERY pale creamy breast with some light tan spots.

He (or she) was HUGE (~22") by comparison to the Red Tailed Hawks we commonly see around here (we're on the Oak Ridges moraine in Richmond Hill).

We didn't think it was a raptor we had seen before, so we poked around the internet and it seemed to most closely resemble a Ferruginous hawk.

The problem is that we kept reading that they are not indigenous to our area and are quite scarce.

Then I came across a forum posting that talked about leucistic Red-Tailed Hawk sightings?

He was just happily hanging out in that tree for the better part of 15 minutes - not very interested in the crowd of Squirrels or birds at our feeders.

I figured he had already eaten or, more concerning, was the possibility that he belonged to a local falconer and had escaped into the wild (although he had no jesses and he looked very healthy).

It finally dawned on me to get a photo but by the time I got my camera out of the bag and rushed back downstairs, he was gone.

Any thoughts on the sighting would be appreciated...

A really beautiful specimen to behold, regardless of what he was.

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Apr 15, 2020
Giant bird spotted
by: Anonymous

We saw a bird like that flying like once a week near our house. It was giant.

Nov 18, 2014
by: Kathy

Happy to send photos, just send your email to frankathy.orillia@gmail.com

Nov 17, 2014
Leucistic Red Tailed Hawk
by: Adriana

I'd love to see your photos. We didn't make it in time to get any, so it would be interesting to see if our sighting was a similar individual to yours!

Nov 12, 2014
White red tail
by: Kathy

Hi, no luck trying to locate or load the photos on the website. I am happy to send them to you directly.

Okay, send them to me at my personal email and I'll add them - barbvanharn@sympatico.ca

Nov 10, 2014
Saw leucistic red tail
by: Kathy

Saw an all white red tail hawk today, Nov 10/14 just east of Hwy 400 and south of Hwy 9. Perhaps the same one from Richmond Hill?
I do have photos.

We'd love to see your pictures, so if you have time, you can send them to us through our page on Red Tailed Hawks - http://www.discover-southern-ontario.com/red-tailed-hawk.html

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