Wondering How the Lone Surviving Red-tailed Hawk Juvenile Is Doing

/, Box Elder County, Red-tailed Hawks, Utah/Wondering How the Lone Surviving Red-tailed Hawk Juvenile Is Doing

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk calling to beg for foodJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk calling to beg for food – Nikon D500, f8, 1/800, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

This is going to be a quick post, I rebooted my server to update a kernel and I had trouble getting it back on line.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the lone surviving Red-tailed Hawk from the nest that blew down because of strong winds earlier in June. As my regular viewers will recall one of the chicks was the victim of a vehicle strike and we found it deceased along side of the road and the other had a damaged wing and had to be euthanized because it was impossible for it to survive the damage the vehicle caused.

At the end of July I photographed the lone surviving juvenile Red-tailed Hawk from that nest and I haven’t seen a juvenile/immature Red-tailed Hawk at that location since then. I know that after a bit young Red-tailed Hawks move around as they learn to hunt for themselves so not seeing it isn’t cause to be alarmed or concerned.

I wouldn’t know this young Red-tailed Hawk if I saw it today because it would look very different now than it did back in July when I photographed it from the side of the road as it called and begged for food from the adults from a railing on a corral.

The first year is the hardest on young Red-tailed Hawks and other raptor species as they learn to hunt to survive and because migration can be so strenuous on them. The mortality rate for young Red-tailed Hawks is about 80% in their first year. After losing its siblings because of the nest being destroyed by the 80 mph winds, being prematurely ejected from the safe haven of their nest and the subsequent vehicle strikes I sure hope this young hawk is part of the 20% that survive and live for many years.

This young Red-tailed Hawk probably doesn’t migrate since we have year round resident Red-tailed Hawks but I know this upcoming winter (if we have a real winter this year) will be hard on it when the temps drop down and there is heavy snow on the ground which makes it harder for the hawks to find and dispatch prey.

I’m so honored by what I see and learn when I am out in the field with birds even when some of it can be quite sad.

Life is good.



  1. Laura Culley November 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    The first year is a tough one, but take heart that enough survive that redtails are abundant throughout their range. No, I don’t use the word common in conjunction with redtails because there’s nothing common about them other than their abundance and the baggage the common word carries just doesn’t apply to redtails 🙂 Mariah made that very clear in our first year. Approved (by Mariah) words are abundant, plentiful and numerous (along with the phrase, “Aren’t they just BEAUTIFUL!” Just FYI, I’m not in charge of these things. In fact, I’m not in charge of much of anything, which is good. If I were in charge, there would be HUGE changes–changes I suspect most of y’all (if not all) would approve of, I’m certain!. LOL!

  2. Pepe Forte November 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Very powerful image of a beautiful young hawk. Thanks Mia.

  3. Elephants Child November 25, 2017 at 11:49 am

    I hope it not only survives but thrives.

  4. Liz Cormack November 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I’m with Patty Chadwick. Let’s hope it survived & if it did, then let’s hope it survives the winter.

  5. April Olson November 25, 2017 at 8:58 am

    It had two devoted parents, every time I saw the chicks they had full crops. Without the other two siblings it has a good chance of surviving. It is difficult for me to go through old photos of the three and the capture and wing inspection of the one we had to euthanize. Life is hard for animals.

  6. Ken Schneider November 25, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Not sure received my comment, but Hurricane Irma hit our local Bald Eagle nest before they set up housekeeping. It also destroyed the heron rookery.

  7. Ken Schneider November 25, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Luckily the hurricane struck our local Bald Eagle nest before they started to set up housekeeping. It was not kind to our heron rookery, knocking down almost every nest tree.

  8. Patty Chadwick November 25, 2017 at 7:19 am

    I sure hope with all my might that the hawk survives the winter…it has already gone through so darned much! This is a wonderful shot…full of close up detail and very expressive.

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