Magnet: Sammy

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Sammy is an adult, female Red-tailed Hawk and one of our Educational Birds. She weighs a little over three pounds and has a wingspan of fifty-four inches and a length of twenty-five inches. Sammy was blown out of her nest as a nestling during a severe storm near Amsterdam, Montana in 1993. She was orphaned and suffered a serious injury to her right eye, eliminating the sight completely in that eye.

Red-tailed Hawks are Buteos, which is a family of hawks that have broad, rounded wings and broad tails. They soar high above grasslands and agricultural areas looking for prey.You may also see them high on a treetop, a telephone pole, or other tall lookout. They prey mainly on rodents, ground squirrels, rabbits, and reptiles.

Red-tailed Hawks are the most abundant and widespread hawks in North America and will have many plumage variations. Although she looks dark in this picture, Sammy is a light morph bird displaying the dark head and rufous underparts with a distinguishing streaked belly band.

They build nests in trees and on cliffs, and many times a new nest must be built as Great Horned Owls will often take over hawk nests. Red Tailed hawks have one to three eggs that incubate for about a month. The young birds can start flying when they are about six to seven weeks old.