Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is the most common type of hawk in our area, and thus is the species most frequently admitted in need of rehabilitation. Having worked with a number of individuals, we have noticed variations in coloration and personalities. Some hawks among those deemed non-releaseable have temperaments agreeable to working as education birds, and leave the mews for programs here and visits to schools, youth organizations, and more. These "working" birds can be distinguished by the thin leather bracelets around their legs, called aylmeris, which allow us to control the bird and prevent it from injuring itself or others. These aylmeris are visible in the photo below, red, attached to brown leather thongs called jesses.
Some of the Red-tails seen in the mews are over 20 years old and have been "retired" from educational use and are used rather as "display birds."

Red-tailed Hawk

Fast Facts

Red-tailed Hawk: Buteo jamaicensis

Range: Widespread all across North America, migrates south from northern latitudes of Canada to winter in Mexico

Habitat: Most open habitats, from scattered woodland to fields, often seen along roadways

Nest: : Large pile of dry sticks lined with bark and foliage, located up high in tall trees or on cliff or building ledges

Eggs: 1-5 whitish to buff with darker blotches

Diet: Primarily a variety of mammals, some birds, reptiles, and occasionally carrion

Trivia: The oldest known Red-tail was 28 years and 10 months

The shrill screech, a drawn out "cheeeeer", is the call of a Red-tail Hawk, and is often heard in film and television whenever a bird of prey is shown circling, even if the bird is another species of hawk or eagle, due to its recognizability.



Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Weekend hours vary seasonally; call for details

After hours group

visits by appointment.

Trails, pavilion, and raptor mews (cages) are open 7 days a week from dawn until dusk.


Want to learn more?

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

National Audubon Society

Copyright 2016 Carbon County Environmental Education Center