Beware, Squirrels: Red-shouldered Hawk!

Beware, Squirrels:  Red-shouldered Hawk!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

And the owl, and the night-hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind…  (Deuteronomy 14:15)


RED-SHOULDERED HAWK   (Buteo lineatus)     Wikipedia photo

Today a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (Buteo lineatus) graced an enclosed garden-like area (between 2 buildings) where I work, swooping down from a rooftop, to land where the local squirrels gather fallen acorns from the nearby oak trees.

The identification was confirmed by eye-witness Don Barber, my genius cousin (and one of the best wildlife experts you could ever meet, having specialized experience with raptors). What a wonderful buteo!  Notice its orange-buff underside, its white-and-dark-brown-mottled wings (sometimes with a spread wider than 3 feet!), its narrowly striped tail-band, and its very serious-looking head!  What a bird!  Squirrels, you better flee!



These buteos make themselves at home within the eastern half of Texas (especially during winter), and their range also includes almost all of the eastern half of America’s Lower 48 (as shown by the Wikipedia range map, below).


Regarding the red-shouldered Hawk, Roger Tory Peterson once said:

Recognized as a Buteo by ample tail and broad wings; as this species, by heavy dark bands across both sides of tail. Adults have rufous shoulder (not always visible) and pale robin-red [i.e., orange] underparts.  Anotehr mark, not often shared by other Buteos, is a translucent patch or “window” toward wing-tip at base of primaries.  Immatures have streaked [plumage] below, as are most other hawks.

[Quoting Roger Tory Peterson, A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS FO TEXAS AND ADJACENT STATES (Houghton Mifflin, 1988), page 62 —  see also color plate illustrations facing page 60.]


RED-SHOULDERED  HAWK  in  Lucas, Texas   (photo credit:  bigdaddydog1 youtube)

5 thoughts on “Beware, Squirrels: Red-shouldered Hawk!

  1. Great post! Fall is nice, but I also love winter… because of the hawks. They are so much easier to spot when the trees are without leaves. The Red-shouldered Hawk makes frequent cameos in my neighborhood and birding patches. I love the bold black-and-white checkerboard striping that can be seen under the wings of many. And their cries echo across the landscape. You’d think those squirrels would get a hint! William


  2. Thanks, Dr. Jim. I always enjoy watching the Red-Shoulder Hawk. They are seen quite often in this area. Also, thanks for posting. I really didn’t feel up to putting one out today. :(


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