Red-shouldered Hawk: Buteo lineatus

The Red-shouldered Hawk is one of the most distinctively marked hawks in North America. These hawks have long tails marked with narrow white bars, and their red “shoulders” are most visible when the birds are perched. It is medium-sized, and being one of the noisiest of the buteos, is often heard before it is seen. Their calls are often mimicked by blue jays. The red-shouldered hawk is a perch-and-pounce raptor and sometimes flies very low in open areas, taking creatures by surprise. The main threat to this bird is habitat loss due to deforestation.

HABITAT: Woodlands, often near rivers and swamps. During migration, they are seen flying along ridges or along the coast.
FOOD: Small mammals, frogs, lizards, snakes, small birds, occasionally fish.



It was May of 2015 when a Red-shouldered Hawk was rescued after having been hit by a car. She arrived at the St. Francis Wildlife Association in Florida undoubtedly frightened and confused by the sudden trauma in her young life. Her right wing was injured and she had neither flight feathers on that wing nor tail feathers. She was also suffering from head trauma. The beautiful hawk was examined, put on antibiotics, and treated for the wrist injury on her right wing. The rehabilitation center had great hopes for this hawk being able to return to the skies. But it wasn’t to be. During six months of rehabilitation, the tail feathers grew back, but the wing feathers did not, and she was unable to fly. Red-shouldered Hawks are often not calm in captivity but this one was, indicating that she might be a good prospect for education. She was calm and curious. Wind Over Wings was selected as her permanent home. The US Fish & Wildlife Service and Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife approved the transfer. Thankfully, Maine’s weather in December was warmer than usual allowing for the airline flight, and she arrived in December of 2015 ready to begin her life in Wind Over Wings’ educational service.

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