Rosa is a juvenile, female Red-tailed Hawk and one of our Educational Birds. She is beginning to display the tell tale red tail which she will get at around age two. She weighs a little under three pounds. The wingspan of a Red-tailed Hawk is about forty-eight to fifty-four inches. Rosa was found in the parking lot of Rosa’s Pizza in summer, 2010, after being struck by a car. She suffered some head trauma that compromised her vision, preventing release.
Red-tailed Hawks are the most abundant and widespread hawks in North America and will have many plumage variations. Most variations will have the distinguishing characteristics of a streaked belly band, and western variations have a dark mark on the leading edge of the coverts or “shoulder” area. Juveniles have a white spotted V pattern across their scapulars or “back”, which you can’t see here but is very evident with perched birds in the field.
Some Red-tailed Hawks migrate to the southern part of the U.S. in the winter, while others may stay in Montana, especially if the winter is mild and food sources are abundant.