Red-tailed Hawks have raised families in several nests within a mile of our Illinois condo. They commonly brought their youngsters to hunt in the surrounding fields. Although the open space is now mostly gone, some still stop to roost on the light poles along our street, keeping a sharp eye out for voles and rabbits.
This is an adult with a bright red tail and light streaking on its mostly white breast.
In flight, Red-tailed Hawks show dark patagial markings on the underside leading edge of their wings. The patagium is the stretch of skin that extends from the body to the wrist. This one, seen during migration in October, has some streaks and a reddish wash on its breast.
There is considerable variation among individuals. This redtail has a pale breast and a heavily streaked belly band, as well as pale red tail. Its flight feathers lack the black trailing edge usually characteristic of adult birds, so it is probably immature.
An adult soaring high above.
Seen from behind, the white feathers on the hawk's mantle form a rough "V," which can be a useful identifying feature. This individual has a narrow black band at the end of its tail.
Juveniles lack red in their tail and are more heavily streaked.
This young bird is sunning itself.
This is one of my favorite shots, of an adult pair on a light pole.
More images from our Illinois neighborhood.