The biggest hawk in Michigan is the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). This hawk is the most widely seen hawk in North America and can be found in every state but Hawaii. The Red-tailed Hawk is a large raptor with a wingspan of up to four feet, and is usually seen soaring high above on thermal air currents. It is mainly brown with a pale chest and a red-brown tail.
The Red-tailed Hawk is a powerful raptor, capable of taking down large prey such as rabbits and other small mammals. Its diet also consists of a variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. It has been known to take advantage of carrion, or dead animals, and can often be seen perched atop telephone poles and tree branches, looking for its next meal.
The Red-tailed Hawk is a monogamous species and typically mates for life. Breeding season begins in March and can last through August. The female lays two to four eggs in a nest made of sticks and other plant material. Incubation of the eggs lasts for about a month and the young fledge after another month of growth.
The Red-tailed Hawk is an adaptable species, able to thrive in a variety of habitats from wooded areas to open grasslands and even suburban areas. Despite its wide range, however, the Red-tailed Hawk is considered a species of special concern in Michigan, due to loss of habitat and other threats.
In Michigan, the Red-tailed Hawk can be seen throughout the year, but is most commonly seen during the winter months when the birds migrate south. It is an impressive sight to see these majestic raptors soaring high above the Michigan landscape, and is sure to be an unforgettable experience for any bird-watcher.