Red Tail Hawks Nest in Our Backyard
Updated: May 30
Red-tailed hawks, known for their impressive hunting prowess and majestic presence, also exhibit fascinating nest-building behavior. Typically, red-tailed hawks build their nests in tall trees or on cliffs, often reusing the same nest year after year. The nests, known as eyries, are large structures made of sticks and twigs, lined with softer materials such as grass, leaves, or moss. The female hawk takes the lead in constructing the nest, while the male assists by bringing materials. The nest-building process can take several weeks, and the hawks continuously add new materials to reinforce and maintain the structure. The eyries can grow quite large over time, reaching several feet in diameter. These nests provide a safe and secure place for the hawks to raise their young, and they often return to the same nesting site each breeding season. Witnessing the red-tailed hawk's nest-building behavior is a testament to their dedication to creating a suitable home for their offspring and showcases their remarkable instincts as skilled avian architects.
As much as we love traveling, we also find joy in observing nature in our community. Recently, we discovered a pair of red tail hawks in our backyard. It has been fascinating to watch them build a nest with twigs and leafy branches on a nearby pine tree. It's a beautiful sight to witness, and we are excited to continue observing them throughout the spring and see how their story unfolds. We have read that they will often have more than 1 nest in an area and just refresh the nest they are going to that season. We will keep you posted.
The relationship between red-tailed hawks and crows is complex and often characterized by antagonistic interactions. Crows are known to harass and mob red-tailed hawks, sometimes in groups, displaying aggressive behavior towards the larger raptors. The reasons behind this behavior can vary. One possible explanation is that crows view hawks as potential threats to their nests and young. Since hawks are skilled hunters, crows may perceive them as competition for food resources. Additionally, crows are highly intelligent and have been observed engaging in communal defense against predators. When crows mob a hawk, they may be trying to drive it away from their territory or disrupt its hunting activities. These interactions showcase the dynamic interactions and territorial disputes that occur within the avian world, with each species utilizing its unique strategies and behaviors to assert its presence and protect its interests.
The interaction between red-tailed hawks and hummingbirds is an interesting dynamic shaped by the significant size difference between these two bird species. Red-tailed hawks are large raptors known for their powerful hunting abilities, while hummingbirds are small, agile birds capable of hovering in mid-air. Due to their size and hunting habits, red-tailed hawks generally pose no direct threat to hummingbirds however they will prey on them if the opportunity arises.
Research has shown that hawks may actually help to protect hummingbirds from other birds. While hawks aren't actively trying to protect little hummers, their presence may detour other birds.
We had our binoculars stolen recently so these are the ones we bought to watch the hawks.