Probably one of the most common raptors seen through out North America is the Buteo jamaicensis, or red-tailed hawk. The red-tailed hawk is a large stocky hawk which is a member of the Buteo genus, which encompasses the soaring hawks. The typical wingspan of a red-tail is just over four feet long and average weight is about two and a half pounds. They are found through out all of North America except for extreme northern Canada and Alaska.
Red-tails have been able to adapt quite well to a variety of different habitats. This may be due in part to the fact that they hunt and eat a wide variety of prey. They are an ambush hunter. They can typically be seen perched in a favorite spot waiting for prey. When they spot something that looks like it would make a good meal they drop down and ambush the prey. Where I live we typically see many of them on light poles on the sides of highways and freeways. This is great hunting habitat for red-tails. The lack of large trees by the side of these roads enable the red-tails to fly unencumbered. The light poles make an excellent hunting perch and garbage thrown from cars attract a good supply of rodents to eat. While people have negatively impacted many different species of wildlife it is good to see that some species, like the red-tails, have not only adapted to survive in harmony with people they actually have seemed to thrive.