Latin name: Buteo jamaicensis
What they eat: Carnivorous (rodents, birds, small mammals, snakes)
Plants that attract: Open areas with high perches such as pine trees and telephone poles
Where they nest: Evergreen and deciduous trees
My observations: Red-tailed hawks are very commonly seen, usually perched atop tall trees, on telephone poles, and even on light poles along highways and freeways. They have stocky bodies and long broad wings, and you can occasionally hear their piercing “scream,” although they’re generally fairly quiet unless provoked by other hawks competing for their prey. They eat gophers, field mice, birds and we were even surprised once to see a hawk flying up out of a field, holding a very long gopher snake in its talons! They tend to be opportunists, but most gardeners in rural areas will particularly appreciate how many rodents they eat. (I know I do.) Adult red-tails have orange-red tail feathers and all have creamy mottled breasts, although the coloration patterns between these hawks vary widely.
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