Over the past few years, red-tailed hawks have been nesting in one of the eastern white pine trees on the south grounds of the Queen's Park, and have also built nests on the upper ledges of the Legislative Building. These magnificent birds swoop and soar amidst the buildings surrounding the Legislature, their shrill cry often being heard as they scour the ground for prey.
Red-tailed hawks are easily recognized in an urban environment due to their size. In the city, they are often seen soaring between office buildings on warm uprising wind currents, and their broad wing structure is indicative of their unique shape. The variation in their body plumage, with black streaking across their breast resembling a necklace, also makes them easily identifiable versus other hawks.
Red-tailed hawks are complete hunters and do not scavenge for their food. In agricultural areas, their diet might consist of mice, voles, or chipmunks – although in their urban environment at Queen’s Park they have adapted to eating pigeons, squirrels, and rats.
Once paired, red-tailed hawks will most likely stay with their partner for life. In the fall, the older hawks will force their young birds from their territory. The offspring migrate south, returning to a nearby area in the spring to establish their own territory.