May 24th Patient of the Day: Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

This gorgeous young Red-tailed Hawk came in on Wednesday May 24th. It had collided with a car and appears to have a broken shoulder. Our dear friend and supporting wildlife vet, Dr Joan Puritz of Oneonta Veterinary Clinic will take good care of this lovely bird for us. We always hope that healing can be complete, so these wonderful beings can go on to live the lives that nature intended for them. Send positive thoughts for healing!

Red-tails are probably the most common hawk on our continent. Their range spans the entire height and depth of North America. They are often seen sitting on power poles, or circling over fields watching for prey.

Red-tailed Hawks are in the “buteo” family of hawks, which are identified by heavy bodies and broad, powerful wings. Some other  North American buteos are the Red-shouldered Hawk and the Rough-legged Hawk. In Europe and the U.K., buteos are referred to as “buzzards” (a term which, in North America, has been adopted as slang for vultures).

The Red-tail primarily hunts mammals, but they are known to also eat other birds. Their prey can be as small as field mice or sparrows, or as large as hares. They are also known to eat carrion.

The nest of the Red-tail is built and the young tended by both parents, who will mate for life. They normally lay 1 to 5 eggs, and raise one brood per season.

UPDATE, MAY 25TH: It turns out that our friend’s shoulder is okay, but there is a fracture farther down in the wing. The chances are pretty good, pending surgery, for full healing, but it’s going to be a long summer for this bird. Keep those good thoughts coming.

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