Learn about the Red-Tailed Hawk

Christmount Assembly in Black Mountain, NC has been integrating educational murals onto the bathhouse at the camp in preparation for their Fern Way Farm Camp summer programs! Different sides feature local flora and fauna for campers to learn about as a way to connect to their own places and ecosystems. The artists are Ohio-based Laura McNeel and Elizabeth Hatchett (her work can be found at Betty Hatchett Designs). It was completed with volunteers’ help from both the Christmount neighborhood and the surrounding WNC area!

Today’s mural depicts the magnificent Red-Tailed Hawk, otherwise nicknamed as “chickenhawk” in WNC because of their carnivorous diet, although they mostly eat rodents. Red-Tailed Hawks are a great example of resilience as they are able to make their homes in many different biomes. They thrive in habitats from the Arctic to Mexico and their diverse diet reflects the variety within their habitats. Their ability to adjust and hunt in new ways only proves their unique adaptability. The Red-Tailed Hawk is protected by the United States’ Migratory Bird Treaty Act because its migration spans continents. 

When the snow begins to come, the Red-tailed Hawks leave their breeding grounds for warmer climates. For nesting, they tend to search for tall trees to create their cliff nests with a “bird’s eye view” of the surrounding area. When areas use selective-cutting or high-grading, it limits the trees available for the hawk’s nesting to smaller trees where Hawks are more vulnerable to attacks because of their lack of a safe perch. Red-Tailed Hawks are also one of the most popular birds for falconry in the US because of their intelligence and ability to be trained. Though falconry can lower the number of hawks, it is tightly controlled, and thankfully, hawk populations haven’t suffered significant losses in numbers. 

Fun Fact: The infamous Bald Eagle cry in movies, is actually the cry from the Red-Tailed Hawk!

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