This month’s bird is the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). Red-tailed Hawks are raptors found throughout North America either as residents or migrating through for breeding. Red-tailed Hawks are a common sight in Northern Nevada. The hawk you saw circling in the sky or perched up on a telephone pole was probably a Red-tailed. The key way to identify the hawk in flight is by its namesake red tail feathers which spread outward from its back like a fabric hand-fan.
A great way to find Red-tails is to go on a drive on the highway out of Reno. Red-tails might be seen circling over large fields and plains, as they are hunting for rodents and other small mammals. Red-tails have been observed at most parks at one point or another, although they prefer parks such as Rancho San Rafael which have more open spaces and therefore more opportunities for hunting prey.
Click here for more information about Red-tailed Hawks and to hear their call.