Louis Agassiz Fuertes
La. falcula, falcis small sickle
(a reference to its talons)
La. forma form, shape, kind
La. accipere to grasp, take
La. accipiter hawk
La. buteo buzzard
La. jamaicensis for the Island of Jamaica
Hawks are the largest of the common American hawks, almost two feet long
with a four foot wing span.
crown, cheeks, and shoulders. Distinctive rusty red, broad, barred tail tipped with white
and a narrow black band near its end. Buff white underparts with heavy brown markings
across the lower breast and on the flanks.
Inhabits forests and groves in most of Canada and Alaska as far
north as there are trees, throughout the lower 48 states, Central America and some
Caribbean Islands. Northern hawks migrate short distances.
Builds a nest high in trees, often more than 50 feet high, out of
rather large sticks lined with smaller twigs, strips of bark, and its own feathers and
sometimes used for many years. Lays two or three, sometimes four dull
white irregularly marked eggs which hatch into helpless downy covered young after about
four weeks incubation. They grow quite large, as large as the adults, before they fly out
of the nest
Soars high overhead in great
spirals searching for prey occasionally emitting a weak distant high pitched whistle.
Suddenly lifting its wings above its back it shoots earthward like a meteor slowing
with its outstretched wings in the last second before gripping its prey with talons.
Eats mice, rabbits, gophers and other small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects
and crayfish. Their nests are usually near the tops of trees in forests
near clearings, and groves in open country where they can observe broad areas
from a high perch.
Bounties were paid for these hawks years ago because of their appetite for poultry and
game birds gave them a nuisance reputation. Now however, the value of a bird that eats so
many rodents in addition to the value of its place in the ecosystem is recognized and the
Red-tail and other hawks as well as other migratory birds are protected.
Print free woodworking plans of a Square
Platform 2 feet on each side (recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service),
same as for the Great Horned
Mount 14' or higher on a sturdy post or
structure on a forest edge or in a clearing adjacent to the tree line.
mounts should only be installed by professionals
The chances of attracting a hawk to a platform are probably slim in most
places. However, some Red-tails become accustomed to civilization as they can be
seen along most any road or highway perched on highline poles or soaring above moving farm
machinery searching for frightened rodents.
|In good seasons when flora
thrive, so do rodents, and so then do hawks and owls. There can be very high populations
of predators and competition for space can make birds desperate. A properly positioned
platform at the right isolated ranch on a high pole or an old abandoned windmill might
attract an inexperienced young hawk looking for an easy fix.