Bird Identification – Red-tailed Hawk – Hen Hawk – Chicken Hawk – Red Hawk

This larger relative of the red-shouldered hawk (the female red-tail measures nearly two feet in length) shares with it the hatred of all but the most enlightened farmers. Before condemning either of these useful allies, everyone should read the report of Dr. Fisher, published by the Government, and to be had for the asking. This expert judge tells of a pair of red-tailed hawks that reared their young for two successive seasons in a birch tree in some swampy woods, about fifty rods from a poultry farm, where they might have helped themselves to eight hundred chickens and half as many ducks; yet they were never known to touch one. Occasionally, in winter especially, when other food is scarce, a red-tail will steal a chicken—probably a maimed or sickly one that cannot get out of the way—or drop on a bob-white; but ninety per cent, of its food consists of injurious mammals and insects.

Both of these slandered “hen hawks” prefer to live in low, wet, wooded places with open meadows for hunting grounds near by.