Red-tailed hawks are diurnal hunters who swoop down upon their prey in a steep dive. Hawks, along with other birds of prey, are pest control specialists, regulating numbers of destructive rodents and other small animals. They live mainly in deciduous forest areas, adjacent fields, and forest openings where they hunt for a variety of prey including rodents, rabbits, reptiles, amphibians, and even insects. The red-tailed hawk is adaptable and is able to live in close proximity to humans. Pairs maintain a territory year round and mate for life. As with many other animals, habitat loss remains the primary threat to the continued well-being of these birds. They are also accidentally killed or injured each year due to collisions with automobiles, towers, fences, and windows. Legal protection, including prohibiting hunting and feather possession without special permits, has helped the red-tailed hawk to make a dramatic comeback in many areas.
Date of Birth: July 1997
Xena came to the WNC Nature Center in August of 1999 as a yearling bird. Not long after fledging, Xena was struck by a vehicle. A motorist found her alongside a roadway and took her to the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unfortunately, her damaged wing had already begun to repair itself and there was little else that could be done for her. Xena serves as an education ambassador for the WNC Nature Center and all wildlife. She lives off display and comes out for programs.
What makes Xena Unique? Although Xena was injured here in the Southern Appalachian region, she is most likely a northern bird who was migrating to the south. Her large size and banding pattern on her tail are indicative of the birds that breed farther to the north. She also used to look to the sky frequently when it became fall, believed to be her natural instinct of migration.
Date of Birth: Unknown
Cirrus came to the WNC Nature Center in May of 2004 from a rehabilitator in Hendersonville, North Carolina. It is not possible to determine her age because Cirrus was hit by a car when she had her adult feathers. Birds go through two phases of feathers in their life, juvenile and adult, and once they have their adult plumage, there is no way to age them. Part of her wing had to be amputated after her accident so she cannot not fly properly.
Cirrus has a unique look. Her feathers around her face fan out making it look like she has a crown.
Date of Birth: Unknown
Toli came to the WNC Nature Center in March of 1998. Like Cirrus, Toli was wild born, but was injured as an adult making it not possible to age him. Toli sustained an eye and wing injury after being hit by a car. Since birds depend on their ability to fly and their sense of sight so much, Toli would not be able to survive in the wild.
An easy way to Toli apart from Cirrus is by looking at their eyes. Toli is missing one eye due to his injury.