Red-tailed Hawk
(Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-tailed Hawk Image by Bill Moses

The 10-year migration count trends for the Red-tailed Hawk suggest a mix of stable and declining counts across North America with 58% of 74 total sites showing stable counts 2009 to 2019. Decreasing observations were observed for 41% of the sites and only 1% of sites reported an increase. Regionally, observations are a mix of stable and declining reports with 50% of sites showing decreasing counts in the East Region and a 33% decreasing in the Central Region. The Gulf and West Regions have reported mostly stable trends (see pie charts and trend maps below). Twenty-year count trends also reflect a mix of stable and declining counts. The Central and East regions represent the majority of decreased counts over this span (Central Region: 2 decrease; East Region: 6 stable, 18 decrease; Gulf Region: 4 stable, 1 decrease; West Region: 6 stable). Hawk Ridge, Minnesota and Goshutes Mountains, Nevada, record the highest counts of Red-tailed Hawks on migration at 6,751 and 4,006 per year in the recent decade. However, widespread declines at migration sites are noted mostly in the East Region, where Derby Hill, New York, leads the count totals recording 3,572 Red-tailed Hawks per year. Derby Hill, New York, has observed declines of 7.32% per year for the past decade.

Winter survey data from the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) show relatively stable 10-year trends continent-wide with the annual percent change in population reported to be an increase of 1%. In the East Region, declines of wintering birds were noted in Ontario, Louisiana, and Florida. Possible declines were also noted in nearby states or provinces. The two data sources combined suggest there may be some localized declines in this species in northeastern provinces and states that warrants investigation. Declines observed in migration counts could also be due to red-tailed hawks shifting their migratory behavior and wintering at more northern latitudes in response to climate change. However, the declines in winter suggest research is needed on this common species. The Red-tailed Hawk is listed as a species of Least Concern globally by the IUCN Red List. The species can readily thrive in human dominated landscapes. Red-tailed Hawks are vulnerable to collisions, electrocution, poaching, lead poisoning, contaminants, and environmental contaminants.

Red-tailed Hawk, North America

2009-2019 (n=74)

Red-tailed Hawk, East

2009-2019 (n=54)

Red-tailed Hawk, Gulf

2009-2019 (n=5)

Red-tailed Hawk, Central

2009-2019 (n=6)

Red-tailed Hawk, West

2009-2019 (n=9)

Please cite this page as:
D. Oleyar, D. Ethier, L. Goodrich, D. Brandes, R. Smith, J. Brown, and J. Sodergren. 2021. The Raptor Population Index: 2019 Analyses and Assessments.


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