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Junior Ranger, Jr. Explores Hawks

This wildlife activity page is part of a Junior Ranger, Jr. series for ages 3-6. Adults and young children can use some or all of the activities to explore nature together inside and outside the home.

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A hawk soaring, photographed from below; its underside is mostly white, but its fanned-out tail is noticeably rust-colored
Red-tailed hawk soars over Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio.

© Jim Kaftan

Imagine

If you were a red-tailed hawk, you would be a large, powerful bird. Your head, wings, and back would be covered by dark brown feathers. The underside of your body would be lighter. As an adult, your tail feathers would have a signature red color that can be seen when you fly. If you were hungry, you would circle above a grassy field or perch in a nearby tree. If you saw a small furry animal, you would dive with your legs stretched out and grab your prey with sharp claws. To tell everyone that you are in the area, you would soar above calling Kee-eeeee-arr!
A photo of the complete craft: a hawk colored in with crayons of different shades of brown, the sky colored blue and leaves colored green
A completed red-tailed hawk coloring page.

NPS photo of a www.supercoloring.com design.

Make

Print and color your own red-tailed hawk.

Materials
  • Coloring page
  • Crayons, pencils, or markers
  • Refrigerator to put up this great picture!

Look/Listen

Listen to the call of an adult red-tailed hawk.

Listen to the call of a juvenile red-tailed hawk.

Watch a video of a red-tailed hawk catching prey.

Can you call like a red-tailed hawk? Kee-eeeee-arr!

Move

Watch the Look/Listen video then practice being a hunting hawk. Clear an open area to play inside your home. Place a stuffed animal (or any soft item) on the floor. Take off your shoes and socks. Go to the edge of the room and spread your wings (arms). Pretend to swoop down on your prey. Try to “catch” it with your talons (toes). Try this several times as hawks aren’t always successful the first time. Return to your perch after each round. Wait for another tasty morsel to come into sight!

Find

Step outside for a walk in your neighborhood or in a park with an open field. Look up at the sky. Do you see any birds circling high above? Keep your eyes open for a soaring bird with a red tail. Hawks glide with their wings straight out like an airplane, while vultures hold their wings up in a V. Scan the tops of telephone poles. Scan large trees along the edges of fields. These make great perches for hawks. Red-tails are also common along many highways. Their white chest feathers make them easy to spot as you drive by.
A brown and white hawk sits upright on the ground; at its feet is a snow-covered mammal carcass

Red-tailed hawk eating

A red-tail sits in snow eating its prey. Credit: © J.J. Prekop, Jr.

A brown-and-white hawk flying from left to right; in the blurred background, leafless trees

Red-tailed hawk

Notice the rusty tail of this adult. Credit: © Jim Kaftan

A brown-and-white striped hawk leans down to feed its fuzzy-looking chick in a large, mottled tree

Broad-winged hawk

A broad-wing parent feeds its chick a large insect in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio. Credit: © Rick McMeechan

Learn More

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has put together a wonderful collection of bird sounds, photos and other information. Click to learn more about the red-tailed hawk.

Last updated: December 8, 2020