Everything Animals: Meet a Red-Tailed Hawk - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Everything Animals: Meet a Red-Tailed Hawk

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Reporter: I'm Cat Viglienzoni here on Mount Philo with Craig Newman from Outreach for Earth Stewardship. We're here with a beautiful hawk Isis. Now can you tell me a bit about hawks -- why is this a good time of year for people to see them?

Craig Newman: Well any time of year is good to see the hawks but in particular in the fall -- shortening days, and the cooler temperatures which we invariably see at this time of year -- they're thinking about moving to a bit warmer climates

CV: So where do they typically migrate to?

CN: It depends on the species. Vermont has some that are long-distance migrants. Peregrine falcons go all the way to Central, South America -- it's a far-going hawk. Redtails, maybe not so far. Far enough so they can find decent ground to hunt in that's not snow-covered.

CV: you said that is usually in mid-September? It starts late August all the way up until the beginning of December. Usually the peak hawk-watching season, as it were, is second, third week, maybe into the beginning of October.

CV: And in terms of identifying the redtailed hawk, what are some of their key features?

CN: They have some really good field marks. This dark belly-band across here and dark comma shapes on the outside of her wings as well as dark lining on the leading edge of her wing right in here.

CV: And then of course the tail.

CN: Of course if you sneak up on them and see the red tail.

CV: And so this one here, there's a problem with her wing?

CN: She was hit by a car and her left wing was broken and although it's healed now it does not extend all the way out. For a buteo like a redtailed hawk, which is a soaring hawk, all those little intricate movements are necessary to hunt, so she would not survive in the wild.

CV: That's why she's here helping us with education.

CN: Yeah, her role has switched from being a predator to a wildlife ambassador.

CV: What do they eat for food?

CN: In Vermont, probably the food of choice is a meadow vole and small mice, sometimes birds if they're hungry enough. But mostly mammals.

CV: Craig Newman, thank you for joining us.

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