Updated: Jul 7, 2021
I heard a lot of very loud screeching from a large bird today. I kept hearing it throughout the day, and while Frank (our handy handyman) and I were installing an outdoor camera (for the minis and the piggies), we heard it nearby. I quickly pulled out my phone to capture the call from the bird, which was in a nearby tree. Check out the video below to hear and see the bird in flight!
After doing a bit of research, I determined it was a Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), which is one the most common hawk species in North America. The males have a call with a distinctive screech (usually while soaring) that's typically exhibited during the mating season. They screech loudly and repeatedly in order to defend their territory and claim their space.
Here are a few interesting tidbits I learned about the Red-Tailed Hawk:
It is legally protected in US, Canada, and Mexico by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Because they are so common and easily trained as capable hunters, the most hawks captured for falconry in the US are red-tails
The red-tail is the largest hawk, usually weighing between 2 and 4 pounds. As with most raptors, the female is nearly 1/3 larger than the male and may have a wingspan of 56 inches.
The eyesight of a hawk is 8 times as powerful as a human’s.
The hawk’s average lifespan in the wild is 20 years.
The red-tailed hawk is capable of “kiting,” holding still against the wind on set wings, much like a kite tugging against string. It’s one of the few birds able to do so.
The term “Buzzard,” generally applied to Vultures, really applies to the red-tailed’s family of Buteos, or soaring hawks. In England, a close relative is known as the “Common Buzzard.”