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Preferring to hunt the open lands, this diurnal bird of prey will soar over fields or perch patiently on nearby trees. Using its extraordinary eyesight, the hawk locates unsuspecting prey like field mice and rabbits. An adult red-tailed hawk has very distinctive field marks, with a wide, reddish upper tail, broad wings for soaring, and a dark belly band on a white chest. Like most raptors, the red-tail will mate for life, often returning annually to the same nesting area. The nest is usually located near a woodland edge, which provides cover for the nest, while keeping close access to preferred hunting grounds.
Our Animal's Story
Our red-tailed hawk habitat houses two adult hawks. Pee-wee has been our resident male since April of 2003. He was a wild bird that hatched in the city of Harrisburg in 2002, suffered a wing injury, and was deemed non-releasable by a local wildlife rehabilitator. Our newer male, Crusty, arrived at ZooAmerica in 2020 from the Staten Island Zoo. His estimated hatch date is 1995. He also suffered a wing injury as a wild bird and could not be released back into the wild.