Atlas, our female Red-shouldered Hawk, joined our flock in February, 2020 as an adult. In the wild, Atlas was hit by a car and her wing was severely damaged. This restricted her flight ability and she was deemed non-releasable. After rehabilitation, Atlas lived at a facility in Colorado, working as an educator for a few years before being transferred to Schlitz Audubon. Atlas is the first Red-shouldered Hawk in our Raptor Program, and she helps teach about migration along the Mississippi Flyway as well as the importance of habitat and wetland conservation.
Hatch Year: Unknown
Average Weight: 1-1½ pounds | Atlas: 1¾ pounds
Wingspan: 37-42 in
Lifespan in the Wild: 10-20 years
Fun Fact: Red-shouldered Hawks prefer the same habitat as Barred Owls. They both prey on small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and crayfish. Since Red-shouldered Hawks are diurnal and Barred Owls are nocturnal, they can live in the same area!
About my Species: Red-shouldered Hawks are medium-sized raptors with broad wings and a long tail. A rusty patch on their wings near their shoulders gives this hawk its name. Individuals show adult plumage at 2 years of age: juveniles are duller in coloration, with brown streaking and thin bands on the tail. They prefer mature hardwood forests near shallow water or wetlands.
Red-shouldered Hawks are threatened in the state of Wisconsin. Due to their natural range, as well as deforestation and habitat fragmentation, their populations are low in our state, although they are found nesting in 60 of our 72 counties They are short distance migrants, and Red-shoulders in Wisconsin migrate to southern Illinois or further south.