To The Daily Sun,
This is in reply to the letter to the editor written by Carolyn Bancroft of Belmont relative to red-tail hawks.
Ms. Bancroft, I’m not sure who you spoke to at New Hampshire Fish and Game, but that person needs a refresher course in raptor identification and characteristics. Red-tail hawks do not weigh 15 to 18 pounds. Bald eagles can weigh that much, but not red-tails. Red-tails weigh from 1.5 to 3.5 pounds, TOPS. They feed on small rodents such as mice, moles and voles.
Yes, they will take the occasional chicken, thus their moniker “chicken hawk.” Those who choose to raise chickens in the Northeast as free range understand that risk, and must account for it.
No, they will NOT take small animals such as your new puppy, up to 15 to 18 pounds. There is absolutely no way a 3.5 pound red-tail could possibly take such a large animal. At most, they can take the occasional animal that is slightly smaller than a hedgehog. They will only take after a human to scare that person off if they get too close to a nest.
Red-tails do migrate in the winter, but more have stayed in recent years due to recent warming in the Northeast climate. As for noticing six-red tails circling the yard, that is also most unlikely. Red-tails are largely singular hunters, and when they migrate, they only travel in twos or threes. They sometimes will join a kettle of broad-wing hawks in migration, but, again, only in pairs or threes. If you saw that many birds circling in Belmont at once, you were more likely seeing turkey vultures, who also will not attack small children or pets. Turkey vultures tend to want to eat animals that are already dead.
So, please, residents of this area, do not lose any sleep over the “danger” from the red-tail hawk. It is a local species that does a very good job of keeping the rodent population in the area under control. Its numbers have not been increasing over recent years; in fact, they have been in somewhat of a decline due to habitat destruction. So, let’s keep our heads on straight, and appreciate these magnificent raptors and the benefits they provide us all.
Dick de Seve
- Written by Ginger Kozlowski
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 638