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.