The Red-shouldered hawk is a very recognizable year-round bird of prey here in Southwest Florida, especially in swamps and deciduous and mixed forests with tall trees and open understory. This hawk of the woodlands will often be found nesting in pine woods and even mangroves throughout the state of Florida. This medium sized hawk hunts by watching from a perch and is often seen swooping out of a tall tree along the edge of the golf course to grabbing a meal by surprise that's travelling in the open turf. Their diet consists of small mammals, amphibians, reptiles and even other birds. Their quick agile flight capabilities will surprise you as the whip through thick wooded areas showing off their latest catch.

The biggest threat to the Red-shouldered Hawk is habitat loss and significant reductions of populations have been linked to the disturbance or removal of mature wet hardwood forests throughout the Southeast and California. Additionally, the Red- shouldered Hawk can be sickened or even die from exposure to poisoned mice and rats. The weakened and disoriented prey are an easy grab for the Red-shouldered Hawk, but poisoned small mammals pass the poison along to the hawk. Efforts are ongoing to eliminate this Secondary Mortality and are important for the protection of raptors such as the Red - shouldered Hawk. Keep both your eyes and ears open to spot this beautiful raptor that calls Sanibel and Captive home.