If the road was in Ontario, chances are good the large hawk you just saw sitting on a branch of a tree beside the road was a Red Tailed Hawk. Ditto if it was perched on top of a streetlight, power pole, telephone pole or fence post.
Frankly, the most common kind of hawk to see near a road in southern Ontario is a red tailed. They are even common in most other provinces and states.
Look for the Belly Band to Identify a Red Tailed Hawk from the Front
It’s not easy to see the red tail on many Red Tailed Hawks. From the front, the tail often looks greyish and stripy.
A good feature to look for is a broad stripe of darker feathers going sideways across the chest about a third of the way down between the head and the legs.
Yellow Eyes Means I’m a Young Hawk
As I mentioned in an earlier Focus, What Kind of Hawk was Perched beside the 401, 403, 404, 407, 427 or QEW? you can tell juvenile red tailed hawks by the pale yellow eyes. (Or at least that’s what Adele Moore says.)
Have you been counting red tails this winter? Is there a place near you where they usually perch? Please share your experiences with a comment.