Adult Red-tailed Hawk perched on top of sagebrush – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
It is now the time of the year when the sagebrush begins to push forth new silver-green leaves and the aroma of the sage can tickle my senses simply by brushing it lightly with my hands. I know some people can’t stand the smell of sagebrush but I love it. The pungency of the scent revitalizes me in the early spring.
It is the time of year when Red-tailed Hawks begin to nest, by now most of them here in northern Utah have already selected a mate so they find a nesting location and start to collect nesting materials as the days grow longer and warmer.
This Red-tailed Hawk was perched on sagebrush near a nesting site one year ago today that has been used for several years now. The pair that used that nest last year successfully reared two young that fledged and I wonder if that nest will be used again and by the same pair of hawks. Time will tell I guess, maybe the same pair will nest there and maybe a new pair will take it over this spring.
I just hope that whoever nests there; if anyone does, is successful in rearing their young.
Life is good.
Red-tailed Hawk facts:
- Red-tailed Hawks can be found in every state in the U.S. except Hawaii and throughout most of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
- They are hawks of open country, fields, deserts, mixed woodlands, grasslands, roadsides, pastures, range and agricultural areas and will perch and nest on man-made as well as natural objects.
- Red-tailed hawks are monogamous and may mate for life.
- Mated pairs will also hunt together.
- They lay 1 to 5 eggs which hatch in about 30 days. Both sexes incubate the eggs.
- Courting Red-tailed Hawks put on an aerial display that both sexes participate in.
- Red-tailed Hawks are known to have extremely variable plumage, some of that variability is due to geographical regions the Red-tailed Hawks are found in and some variation is because there are light, intermediate (rufous), and dark morphs including Harlan’s Hawks which are darker overall.
- Their diet includes small mammals including rabbits, jackrabbits, hares, mice, voles, ground squirrels, and rats. They will also consume upland game birds, passerines, lizards, snakes and carrion.
- Red-tailed Hawks used to be called Chicken Hawks.
- Red-tailed Hawks can live beyond 21 years.