Resident Raptor - Red-shouldered Hawk
Ki Was found as a nestling in June 2003 emaciated,
weak, with a heavy load of both internal and external parasites, a fungal
and bacterial infection, and an injured right eye. The eye had a cataract
and ultimately ruptured and collapsed, possibly from a poke by a nest mate
competing for food, a crow, or simply a stick in the nest.
Diurnal raptors need both eyes to hunt and though a few adults who had already developed
their hunting skills might be able to compensate for such a loss, a young
bird just learning to hunt would have little chance of survival. The
western subspecies of red-shouldered hawk has been expanding its range north
from California, first in the winter, and can be found nesting in western
Lane County, Oregon.
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus elegans)
A medium sized buteo (soaring) hawk, the
red-shouldered hawk is noticeably
smaller than the more common red-tailed hawk. With strikingly barred black
and white tail and wings, and chestnut chest and back, this hawk is
relatively easy to identify. The tail is proportionately a bit longer, and
the wings more rounded than the typical buteo profile.
(Sizes given are for Northeastern birds; western birds typically thought to be 10-15% smaller.)
||17 - 23"
||19 - 24"
||32 - 44"
||39 - 50"
Status - Protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,
but little information has been collected on estimated or counts of
population density. Trend information from migratory counts suggests a
long-term decline, though reforestation of former agricultural land in the
northeastern United States may assist reestablishment in some areas. Although the western population has probably declined due to habitat loss in
California, it is considered stable and might be helped by the northward
expansion of its range into Oregon.
Habitat - Though a buteo, or soaring hawk, which are most often found in open
grassland habitats, this species inhabits a broad range of North American
forests. They prefer large areas of older mixed deciduous/conifer
woodlands, especially bottomland hardwood, riparian woodlands, and flooded
deciduous swamps. The western subspecies is most often found in riparian
and oak woodlands, but can be found in eucalyptus groves and even suburban
areas with nearby small woodlots.
Diet - Has a broad diet, although small mammals (especially chipmunks, mice,
voles), frogs, and snakes comprise the bulk of its diet in most areas. Birds, crayfish and insects are key in certain areas and times of the year. These birds launch most of their hunting attacks from a perch, rather than a
soar, due to their typical woodland habitat.
Call - Can be very loud, especially as an alarm call, or as a territorial call at
the beginning of breeding system - a long, drawn out Kee-aah, with
the accent on the second syllable, often repeated in rising notes.
Nesting - Uses many species of deciduous trees (occasionally in conifers), below the
canopy but at least half way up the tree in a crotch of the main trunk. Nests in conifers are usually built against the main trunk where a group of
branches meet the trunk. Often nesting near water, nest is built or
repaired by both sexes, using dead and live twigs and adding fresh green
springs of evergreen. Also often contain dried leaves, bark strips, moss
and licens. Inner cavity lined with finer shreds of bark and other material
at egg-laying. Average of 4 eggs, 33 day incubation; both sexes incubate
though most is done by females.
Most Common Problems - Hit by cars, pesticides, habitat loss.