Quiggly is a Red Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis
). He came to us as
a nestling after the tree his nest was in was cut down. During the fall he
suffered fractures to both wings and one leg as well as damage to one eye.
All of his fractures have now healed, but he cannot fly and will never be
able to be released. Due to his injuries, Quiggly was raised by people and
so is imprinted and could never be released because of this, regardless of
the ability to fly. Quiggly is currently a temporary resident looking for a
placement with another educational facility. Though only a year old, Quiggly
does have the characteristic red tail of a two year old bird. This is
because he had to grow in a second set of tail feathers his first year, due
to his first set being lost while he was in his bandages.
Red Tailed Hawks can be found all aver North America, and as far north as
central Alaska and south to Panama. They are part of the Buteo family which
is made up of the largest soaring hawks. These birds have broad wings and
tails which allow them to soar over open areas and they can often be found
circling over fields in search of food. Other members of the Buteo family
found in Washington include the Swainson’s Hawk, the Rough Legged Hawk, the
Ferruginous Hawk and the Red Shouldered Hawk.
Red Tailed Hawks typically weigh between 2 and 3 pounds. There is no
physical difference between males and females other than that the females
tend to be about one third larger than males. Adult birds are typically dark
brown on their backs and on the tops of their wings. Their undersides are
generally light with markings on their wings that can be described as a dash
followed by a comma located near the shoulder and extending out toward the
primary feathers. Adults may also show a light patch of feathering on their
chests, commonly referred to as a sunburst. Immature Red Tailed Hawks
resemble the adults but their tails are brown with stripes. They will get
their red tail with the first molt at one year of age.
Hawks are very well adapted to locate prey from great distances. Their
eyesight is at least eight times more powerful than that of humans and if a
hawk were to stand at one end of a football field he would be able to see a
grasshopper jump across the end zone on the opposite end with ease.
Red Tailed Hawks are opportunistic hunters and will eat animals as
diverse as rabbits, snakes, lizards, insects and other birds, although 85% -
90% of their diet is made up of small rodents.