RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
The Red-tailed hawk is a fairly large bird of prey, with a wing span extending to almost 5 feet (150 cm). The bird is widespread in North America but uncommon in PEI, and rare in the winter. It is mainly brown with a reddish tail, which gives it its name. Females are larger than males. Please note the leucistic individual below. For more information on leucism in birds you can click here. The bird’s diet consists mainly of small mammals such as rodents (see photo below), but they can also eat birds and reptiles, even fish.
Red-tailed hawks are in high demand by farmers, as they chase away the crows that eat their crops. But since the crows are more numerous, they will mob the red-tailed hawk and chase it away, so it goes both ways. Here’s an article about a red-tailed hawk hunting crows (successfully) right in Charlottetown.
Crows can be a serious nuisance for farmers, so they will sometimes install electronic repellers in their fields, imitating the sound of birds of prey such as the red-tailed hawk. The call of the red-tailed hawk sounds rather sinister, which is why it is also sometimes used in movies.
Red-tailed hawks are also a popular bird in falconry, because they have a good capacity for being trained and tamed, and are resistant to diseases so they live longer.