Perch Site Characteristics of Red-Tailed Hawks at Simon Kenton Wildlife Management Area, KY
Bekah Keating and Dr. Stephen Sumithran, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Avenue, Richmond, KY 40475, USA
ABSTRACT Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are sit and wait predators and rely on perches to hunt for small mammals, reptiles, and birds. From June 2020-October 2020, perches used by Red-tailed Hawks in Mason Co., Kentucky were identified, a random potential perch site was identified also. A total of 15 perch site and an equal number of random perches were identified. The perches were located in trees or utility poles and were respectively high with a mean of 18.56 m. These high perches allow the Red-tailed Hawks to scan for prey with a wide range of vision. Red-tailed Hawks can also be seen preening or sleeping from these sites. Vegetation characteristics surrounding used perch sites varied from areas around available but unused perches. The sites used had slightly less grass cover, fewer forbs, and the average vegetation height was relatively lower. Overall, used perch sites were higher with somewhat less vegetation, which in turn allows Red-tailed Hawks to scan for prey more effectively.