6/19/2008

Red-Tailed Hawk

(Toledo, OH) We have a number of red-tailed hawks in our neighborhood, though they seem to try hard to evade my efforts to capture them on my digital camera. I have yet to locate any nests, but I hear and see these impressive raptors at least a dozen times a week.

Once you have heard the screech of this hawk, you will recognize it as one of those Hollywood sound cliches. It sounds like a "Shreee-eee-uh," staring at a higher pitch and ending lower.

The Buteo jamaicensis - better known as the "chickenhawk" in rural areas due to its stereotypical-but-undeserved predilection for snatching fowl from farmers - sometimes develops wingspans approaching five feet in length. The red-tailed hawks in my neighborhood, however, probably are in the four-foot range for wingspans.

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