Nature Journal
with Photos

Red-tailed Hawk
Nesting and Breeding

The territory of the Red-tailed Hawk is anywhere from 1/2 square mile to more than 2 square miles. These buteos are thought to mate for life and, if not migratory in their area, will remain on the same territory year after year.
Red-tailed Hawks usually build their nest 35-90 feet above ground in the crotch of a tall tree. They often choose a tree that is taller than nearby trees and which gives a good view of the surrounding area.

Instead of building a new nest, Redtails may refurbish a nest from a previous year. In habitat where trees are scarce, the nest may be placed on a rock ledge.

The bulky nest is built by both sexes and consists of sticks and twigs, lined with strips of bark and sometimes pine needles or corn husks. Evergreen sprigs are included at the time of nest building and continue to be added throughout the nesting period.
Incubation and Fledging
In its eastern range, the Red-tailed Hawk usually lays two eggs. These are dull white or bluish white and marked with brown spots or splotches. It is believed that incubation is shared by both sexes, with the female spending more time on the nest than the male.

The eggs hatch in 28-35 days at intervals of one to two days. The young fledge in 42-46 days but remain in the area of the nest for two or three more weeks.
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