Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?Matthew 6:26
Two red-tailed hawks were recently spotted at NHCC, and since I spend time caring for plants on the NHCC grounds, I wanted to share the following facts and experiences:
- Red-tailed hawks are the most common hawk in MA and likely in all of North America. They eat rabbits, mice, rats, and other ground creatures. They can often be seen soaring in the air or sitting high in a tree looking for food for themselves and their young. I usually see at least one when I’m out and about.
- To my knowledge, they don’t migrate as their food is present all year round. (It’s typically insect-eating birds who need to migrate.)
- Red-tailed hawks are found in natural areas, but also in cities and suburbs. This means that poisoning mice and rats anywhere risks poisoning these beautiful birds.
- Red-tailed hawks mate for life. We had a breeding pair in the area last year, and they may have returned. Their nest is in the area, although there is no indication that it is on NHCC property. I think they use our tower to look for food.
Red-tailed hawks are a type of hawk known as a buteo (vs. accipiters and falcons, which eat birds). As is true for all buteos, the female is larger than the male.
- I know multiple people who, when they see a red-tailed hawk, relate it to the soul of a loved one. A friend said, “This hawk appeared when my father died, so I think it’s a way of my father communicating with me.”