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Red-tailed Hawks Soar Throughout Forest Preserves

red-tailed hawk in flight
Photo by Carol Freeman.

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.

Learn more about red-tailed hawks from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.