Forest Preserves of Cook County wildlife staff recently banded a red-tailed hawk. Each year, the Forest Preserves bands 600-800 birds from more than 50 different species. Of the birds that are banded, approximately 80-100 of them are birds of prey, also known as raptors.
According to Senior Wildlife Biologist Chris Anchor, birds are banded throughout the year as a way to aid disease surveillance. With banded birds, Forest Preserves staff looks for vectors for disease, such as ticks, and/or blood or tissue samples.
Red-tailed hawks are one of the most common hawks in the Chicagoland area, and are one of the few effective predators we have for rodents. Typically, red-tailed hawks eat mice, squirrels and rabbits.