|Toby the Red-tailed Hawk|
|Written by Catherine Lorenz|
|Sunday, 22 July 2012 16:54|
This is Toby, our glove-trained Red-tailed Hawk. Toby is the special guest at our Summer Science Camps, and I thought I’d share some of the facts the campers are learning.
Red-tailed Hawks get their name from the rusty red color of their tails. This can help easily identify them when they are soaring overhead. Toby is still in the process of growing her tail feathers since she recently molted them.
Toby is a female, despite what you may gather from her name. In the raptor world, females are usually larger than males. Female Red-tailed Hawks can be up to a half pound heavier than males. Right now, Toby weighs about three pounds, which sounds small until you are carrying her on your outstretched arm!
Red-tailed Hawks live all the way from northern Canada to Central America. Populations residing in the far north migrate south for the winter, but many hawks in the United States will remain in the same area year-round. Our Red-tailed Hawks at the sanctuary live outside even in the winter. To help them survive the cold, they add an extra layer of feathers to help retain body heat, and also eat extra meat so they can expend more energy to keep themselves warm.
While Toby eats mostly mice and rats that we feed her, Red-tailed Hawks in the wild eat a variety of small animals. They will hunt small mammals such as rodents and rabbits, birds like pheasants and quail, and even reptiles such as snakes. They hunt mostly from elevated perches, where they sit and watch for prey.For more information on Red-tailed Hawks, click here.