Huntsville family fearful of redtail hawks; Alabama Biologist Aid says ‘No Need’

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  John Couch is fearful of the family of Red tail Hawks in his back yard. He says he feels they're preying on his dogs. But Alabama biologist Mark Wetzel says- they have nothing to fear.

“One of the cool scientific things is that red tail hawks only weighing 2 to 3 pounds can only pick up 2 to 3 pounds,” says Wetzel.

Which, fortunately for Ripton, Trouble and Buddy, makes them far too large.

So why are these birds getting so close? Almost like they’re stalking the family pets?

Mark wetzel says it’s simple. “The interesting part is having a nest- these young birds are learning to fly. So I think what happened is these birds were on the ground, to learn how to hunt, and that’s when these individuals saw them.”

But he says these troublesome neighbors will soon be moving out. “They’ve gone through the hardest part of all of this- and that’s the bird learning how to fly. Give them about 6 weeks and they’ll leave the nest and they’ll leave the yard alone,” says Wetzel.

While these birds are a nuisance to many, Wetzel says they’re doing you a lot of favors, like rodent control. Each hawk eats at least 3 mice a day. They also love squirrels, and rabbits. “They want to catch prey items that they feel secure in catching. Something as simple as a wing injury can make it to where that bird is unable to hunt and can’t find food. So they don’t want to risk hunting larger prey items if they have smaller ones available,” says Wetzel.