THE RED TAILED HAWK

Buteo jamaicensis

The Red Tailed hawk breeds in this area of Southern Ontario, as well as most of the rest of North America, and is one of the largest Buteos, weighs between 1.5 to 4 lbs and may have a wing-span of around 4.5 feet.

As I travel around this area of Southern Ontario, I often see these majestic birds as they perch on fences and trees watching for their prey, and if I am lucky I will see them take off gracefully, catching a glimpse of their lovely brick-red tail feathers.

The female is typically larger than the male and these birds are often called Chicken Hawks, although they seldom pray on chickens!

A Red Tail Hawk standing on a tree stump

Easily identified by their rusty-red tails which can be seen while the birds are perched or in flight, these birds can often be seen in this area as they hunt their prey or rest on telephone poles or fences.

These birds are opportunistic feeders and their usual prey may include small mammals, fish, backyard birds , reptiles and rodents.

The Red-tailed Hawk hunts primarily from an elevated perch site, swooping down from a perch to seize prey, catching birds while flying, or pursuing prey on the ground from a low flight.

Red Tailed hawks reach maturity at around 24 months and appear to form pair bonds which may last for several years, with the pair using the same territory annually.

The nest is usually built in a large tree or on a cliff ledge and is made of twigs, corn cobs, and other plant material.

Red tail hawk in flight showing red tail against a blue sky background

In this picture of a Red Tailed Hawk in flight, the bird's beautiful red tail-feathers can be clearly seen.

Usually, between one and three eggs are laid each Spring by a pair of birds, which are incubated and then fed by the female, whilst the male brings her food for herself and the chicks.

At around ten weeks of age the young are fully fledged and ready to leave the nest.

These birds are legally protected in Canada, Mexico and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


The video below is supplied courtesy of YouTube and Berwick Productions, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Red Tailed Hawk Info ...

If you are planning a trip to Southern Ontario in fall, then you are in for a treat! Cornell Lab of Ornithology - All about Red Tailed Hawks

This site has lots of information about this, the most common and widespread hawk "le faucon" in North America, which is frequently seen sitting on utility poles where it watches for rodents in the grass along the roadside.

Do you have a sighting of a Red Tailed Hawk? Tell us where, when and what the Hawk was doing

Do you have a great story about a Red Tailed Hawk sighting? Share it!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]

 

Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Saw this one yesterday 
I saw this one in Crothers Woods (Don River valley) yesterday afternoon. I'm just a beginner, so I would love if someone could help me identify …

Waterloo Hawk ID 
I spotted this Hawk late afternoon sitting high up in a tree in Beechwood in Waterloo. Is it a Coopers or a Red Tail Hawk? I don't know, …

Bird of prey on my balcony 
I saw this bird of prey on my balcony today October 21 around 3:30 pm. I live in North York, near Sheppard and Don Mills. I can't recognize this …

Falcons are awesome  
My cousin and I were out taking pictures of nearby deer and came upon a falcon. We got up as close as 2 ft away and it flew only a few branches away …

Seen in Mid Town Toronto 
This hawk greeted my son and me in the early morning last week. It had caught a large rat which it is looking at in the picture. It would eventually …

Seen in Ottawa - what species? 
I saw this bird first on the ground, then perched in a tree. Beautiful brown colouring with a lighter chest and stomach. Thank you for sending …

Red Tail Hawk in Mississauga 
This morning what I thought was a Falcon landed on my balcony (Hurontario and Burnhamthorpe). This large bird stayed put for 30 mins. No sounds …

Toronto and Hamilton Red Tailed Hawks 
Judy from Toronto reports ..... As a former country girl, I love wildlife; and none more than our majestic birds of prey. I feel very fortunate to have …

The Red Tailed Hawk 
Several of our readers have told us about their recent sightings of Red Tailed Hawks. Elaine from Toronto reports ..... I was camping, setting up my …

Red-Tail Hawk in Victoria Park 
I was walking my dog through Victoria Park when I saw a rather large bird across the street. He was sitting on the lawn of St. Peters Church in London, …

Red Tailed Hawk 
September 6/2014 I live in Little Italy in downtown Toronto. Before preparing my coffee, I slid open my balcony door and I could hear unusual one-note …

Some manner of Hawk 
I was walking up William Street between York Street and King Street in London this morning (August 27, 2014) and took a photo when this handsome devil …

Noisy Red Tail Hawk 
Hi there. I've been in this apartment for 13 years here on the west mountain, Hamilton, and the last few days there is a strange cry coming from the tree …

Curious 
I see a pair of large hawks most days on a large aerial outside Shaver hospital in St. Catharines, Ontario. Someone said they are Peregrine Falcons, …

Broad Wing Hawk? 
I live in downtown Toronto about 2 blocks from the DVP. My backyard is a small (15'x85') and the 3 houses next to mine are the same. We have a …

Please identify this bird in Kingston Ontario 
I photographed this bird from a distance of about 150', sitting still for a long time in a large willow tree in a residential back yard in the centre of …

Red Tailed Hawks in the backyard 
I live in a highrise building in downtown Toronto, Ontario. I started noticing the pigeons flying in circles in groups, there are a lot of pigeons around …

Gorgeous Hawk 
Hi, here are a couple of photos of this gorgeous Hawk sitting 4 feet away from us in the allotment gardens at Leslie Spit, Toronto. The Hawk was eating …

Red-Tailed Hawks in downtown Toronto 
Hi there!! Saw two very big birds of prey flying over my building in downtown (!!) Toronto on Saturday, January 14th. It was just west of Queen and …

Hawk in High Park 
Last Sunday in High Park, Toronto, I came across this beautiful Red Tailed Hawk , lunching on a Squirrel . It gave me dirty, warning looks, but …

Big Adult Red Tailed Hawk.. Toronto? 
I was sitting on my back deck this morning having coffee, when this big adult male Red Tailed Hawk landed in our tree. It was holding a city pigeon …

Raptor in my backyard! 
I went outside today to find a large Hawk eating its lunch in a tree in my apartment backyard. There was a Crow hopping around the tree branches trying …

Red Tailed Hawk 
One of our readers from London, Ontario, sent us this report of a Hawk sighting - This little Red Tailed Hawk unfortunately hurt one of its wings whilst …

Red Tailed Thief 
This morning I was sipping my coffee as I looked out of the window, and watching my cat, Sheba, as she waited patiently for a Chipmunk to come out from …

Click here to write your own.

Hawk in Pickering 
I spotted this on a backyard tree limb, 30 feet in the air, probably observing chipmunks and/or squirrels. This was August 31st 2017 Thank …

Red-Tailed Hawk going after our dogs? 
We live in Acton Ontario and we have 4 small dogs (Maltese, Poodle, Bichon, etc.) and a very large bird was dive-bombing them in the backyard earlier today. …

Right in the back yard  Not rated yet
I was sitting outside with my 2 year old daughter, Ashlynn, when out of nowhere this hawk comes and sits on the gazebo. I turn to look at what my daughter …

High School girls get morning flyby  Not rated yet
Red Tail Hawk flew over us as we were getting into our vehicle at 8:00 am, the Hawk was also sighted by a group of young girls the day before, seen sitting …

Red Tailed Hawk sightings Not rated yet
Kathryn Schubert wrote to say ... this beautiful bird regularly visits our little backyard - we love it - such a treat each time we see it :) This is …

Flying over my house  Not rated yet
I must have a nest close by. I see one hawk missing a lot of tail feathers scooping up the red winged blackbirds. They chase him all over. Recently …

Red Tail Hawks - East York Not rated yet
I have a pair of Red Tailed Hawks that built a nest in a large fir tree nearby my house. Everyday I see them fly back and forth with small twigs for …

Two Red Tail Hawks nesting in Wainfleet Not rated yet
This nesting pair has enjoyed my "citidiot" tendencies by me sprinkling bird seed EVERYWHERE in the OPEN so I can bird watch. And now the Red Tail Hawks …

Oakville Ontario Not rated yet
This Hawk appeared on my back fence a few minutes ago, east side of Oakville, Ontario.

Red Tailed Hawk sightings Not rated yet
In June, Cindy from Scarborough wrote to say ... I work at a small Non-profit Housing Co-op in Scarborough, ON (located at Markham Rd and Blakemanor Blvd). …

Red Tailed Hawk Not rated yet
Today I was very lucky to see this bird on a light post in Milton. I usually have my camera with me, so I was able to get some nice …

Red Tailed Hawk? Not rated yet
My son saw this bird perched up in a back yard tree this morning. Date/Time: Monday January 30th at 8:15 am. Location: We are in the …

Red-Tailed Hawk? Not rated yet
Walking in a suburban creek-side park, south of downtown Brampton, Ontario on November 10th 2015, around noon. Saw the Hawk in a smaller tree, surrounded …

Red Tailed Hawks Not rated yet
One of our readers sent us this picture of a Red Tailed Hawk, he says ... I watched a Red Tailed Hawk sitting in a tree by a field, then it let out a screech …

Red Tailed Hawk on Tiki Torch Not rated yet
It looks like a Red Tailed Hawk landed on my 8th floor balcony and perched on a Tiki Torch mid day during a snow storm. He stayed for about 30 minutes …

Red Tailed Hawk Downtown London Ontario Not rated yet
We live on Wharncliffe Road, the busiest street in London, Ontario, within walking distance of the downtown core. Wharncliffe Road used to be the original …

Aga Khan Museum sighting  Not rated yet
Spotted at the new Aga Khan Museum and Cultural Centre at Don Mills and Eglinton in Toronto. She sits on the fence closest to the off ramp on the …

Red Tailed Hawk in my neighbourhood Not rated yet
I live right in the downtown core of Toronto and notice pair of Red Tailed Hawks soaring in the sky almost everyday chasing the pigeons and sometimes squirrels. …

Close call! Not rated yet
I am not positive that the bird of prey that I saw was in fact a Red-Tailed Hawk, but the description seems to match. Everything happened so fast. …

Red Tailed Hawk in Georgetown Not rated yet
A Hawk looking for dinner on a cold day!

Red Tail Hawk in London Ontario Not rated yet
I have been noticing a huge bird in the last little while, in the Springbank Drive area. It sits on top of a pine tree on the corner of the street …

Red Tail Hawk In Brantford Not rated yet
My son and I came across the Red Tailed Hawk on the trails in Brantford, Ontario, on two different occasions and it was if he was posing for us as he wasn't …

Mating Red Tailed Hawks?? Not rated yet
Hi, I'm not a serious birder so I'm guessing at the type of Hawk and what they are up to. Also I'm guessing at the sex of each based on the activity, …

Red-Tailed Hawk at Western Not rated yet
There was a beautiful pair of Red-Tailed Hawks at Western's campus today around the Thompson Arena on the corner of Western Road and Sarnia Road. One …

Red Tail Hawk Not rated yet
Sunday November 17, 2012. Raking leaves in the backyard and looked up to see a Red Tailed Hawk perched in our Siberian Elm tree. I'm not sure …

Click here to write your own.

Red Tailed Hawks in the backyard. Not rated yet
I live in a highrise building in downtown Toronto, Ontario, and I started noticing the pigeons flying in circles in groups. There are a lot of pigeons …

Red Tail Hawk? Not rated yet
There are a pair of birds hanging around on the top of the apartment buildings on Capulet Lane in London. They have been around all winter but now …

Hawks from my Balcony Not rated yet
I spend considerable time on my 12th floor Scarborough balcony watching the many hawks who frequent the area. There are Red Tails of course, but I also …

Red Tailed Hawk visits our feeders for small birds! Not rated yet
I was telling a fellow bird watcher how this raptor visits our feeders on occasion. While telling the story we were watching the feeders in our yard …

Saw what I think is a Red Tailed Hawk Not rated yet
Yesterday, October 11, 2011. It was in my garden in Toronto, and when it took off its underside was light in colour. Gorgeous bird! Never seen …

Resident Red-Tailed Hawks  Not rated yet
I have garden plots in the at Berkshire Community Gardens, London, behind the Sifton offices on Berkshire Drive. There are a resident pair of Red-tails …

Red Tailed Hawk pair Not rated yet
While picking up my step-daughter at King Edward School, in Kitchener, there was a pair of Red Tailed Hawks sitting together in the tree beside the …

Red Tailed Hawk Not rated yet
My husband was doing dishes in the kitchen and saw a Red Tailed Hawk on the branch in front of our 2nd floor window. This is downtown Toronto area, …

Red Tailed Hawks Not rated yet
Since I started bird watching (focusing on raptors) about a year or so ago, I've realized how many Red Tailed Hawks there are in London. …

RED TAILED HAWK Not rated yet
If I am right about the bird, we have seen no less than 3 at a time in our area - right in Port Credit (Mississauga). Our back yard is fairly heavily …

Red Tail Hawk with Young Not rated yet
This very attendant mother lives outside of Monkton, Ontario. Her mate is frequently seen hunting in the area. What a wonderful picture …

Click here to write your own.

Recent Articles

  1. What kind of bird is this?

    Aug 22, 19 08:00 AM

    This bird has been coming to my bird feeder for a few days now and it usually eats with the black bird in photo or with the doves. what kind of bird is this - could be a Cowbird

    Read More

  2. What is this in the Mulberry bush?

    Aug 21, 19 10:00 AM

    One of our readers spotted this in the bushes ... grey catbird in the mulberry bush

    Read More

  3. Wild Peacocks

    Aug 21, 19 09:42 AM

    One of our readers from Amherstburg sent us this report of her bird sighting - Every day on my way to work I am seeing 5-7 wild Peacocks grazing on the side of the road - can this be true? I didn't re…

    Read More

Discover Southern Ontario


Site Build It!