What does it look like? Adult red-shouldered hawks are medium- to large-sized birds with black- and white-striped wings. The young hawks are brown and white in color, instead of black and white. The bird gets its name from its reddish upper wing areas.
How long does it live? The red-shouldered hawk lives on average just over 2 years.
What does it eat? The hawk eats small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
Where does it live? The red-shouldered hawk enjoys forests with open understory, bottomland hardwoods, river/stream areas, and flooded swamps. The hawks are present year round along Rock Creek.
How is it threatened? The red-shouldered hawk has been indentified in both Washington, DC, and Maryland as a species of “greatest conservation need.” The protected forested areas surrounding Rock Creek provide some of the largest areas of undeveloped space in the densely populated metropolitan area. Like many bird species, the red-shouldered hawk is in danger from habitat destruction due to deforestation and suburban development. Bird breeding can be disturbed by human disturbance from hikers, hunters, and horseback riders, so special care should be taken by those using Rock Creek for recreation during the breeding season.