The red-tailed hawk is very good at adapting to different environments. They have no problem cohabitating with humans and have even made a home for themselves in New York City, where they feed on pigeons and rats.
The deforestation of the United States actually made more hunting grounds for the red-tailed hawk, who seems to find a utility pole the perfect lookout over a field or roadway.
The red-tailed hawk feeds primarily on rodents and can reach 120 miles per hour when diving from the sky to catch its doomed prey.
If you hear the screeching of a hawk look to the sky. If there is only a single hawk, the bird is probably hunting or guarding its territory, but if you see two hawks twirling around each other, be prepared to be impressed. This is a courtship flight, where the male may show off to the female for over ten minutes by swooping, diving and even grabbing her talons in midair. Hawks usually mate for life and perform this dance often, so keep your eyes on the sky this spring.
Text and photographs reprinted with permission from issue 8 of the Steamboat Island Register. For more information and to advertise in the Register, contact Amanda Waggoner at (360) 870-2126 or firstname.lastname@example.org