I am always stopped in my tracks in amazement whenever I spot a bird of prey. They arrive as stealthily as they leave and never seem to flinch. The Red-shouldered hawk, like other birds of prey, hunts from a tall perch, or (even more amazingly) in flight from 100 feet in the air as it rides thermal columns and surveys the ground below. From great heights, it can spot rodents and other prey below. You can often see them perched along wooded roadways, waiting for an opportunity. Once, I saw the most amazing sight of a hawk clutching a writhing snake in its talons as it crossed my path on the highway! This particular hawk appeared to me through my kitchen window as I was washing some dishes one winter’s day and stayed awhile.
Red-shouldered hawks and crows are often at odds. Crows will mob against this hawk and each tries to steal food from the other.
These hawks are forest-dwellers, but can also be found in suburban areas with heavy wooded areas.
Both the males and females work to build the nest, often refurbishing a prior-year’s nest. Their nests can be two feet in diameter and are comprised of bark, moss and evergreen sprigs. Throughout the season, parents add fresh leaves.
The oldest known Red-shouldered hawk was 25-year old female.