By Emily Willoughby (Own work) [ CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via  Wikimedia Commons

By Emily Willoughby (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Eastern half of the United States, from southern Canada to Florida. Also found in west coast states.

Length          17-24 inches
Wingspan     37-44 inches
Weight          17-27 ounces

Woods, sometimes quite close to human habitation. Usually nests near running water. Diet includes salamanders, snakes, etc.

Small mammals such as mice and voles; salamanders, snakes, frogs, small birds.

Common resident hawk in Virgina. Will fly through the woods watching for prey, but will also hunt from a limb. Fly with a gull-winged look as they cut between the trees. Like to forage near running water for prey. Believed to form pair bonds, and often return to the same territory and nest for many years. Nests are usually in an oak tree about 50 feet up, and often very near a house. Pairs and young can be quite vocal during nesting, and will defend nest area from humans, Red-shoulder juvenile plumage resembles that of a Cooper's Hawk juveniles; Red-shoulders get their adult reddish shoulder patch and black and white tail bands in their second year. Along with Cooper's Hawks, this is the hawk most often seen by people and reported as a "big" hawk.

Meet RCV's resident education Red-shouldered Hawks - Squeaker and Anne!