Red-Shouldered Hawk Study in Southern Ohio

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Most suburban residents lucky enough to have Red-shoulders as neighbors enjoy watching the progression of the nesting season, from courtship to fledging. Landowners can promote Red-shouldered Hawks by retaining large trees that may serve as nest sites, leaving natural vegetation in fields and around ponds to promote rodent prey populations, and refraining from using lawn chemicals which can enter aquatic ecosystems and reduce aquatic prey populations.
Rarely, landowners encounter problems with resident Red-shouldered Hawks. Although most Red-shouldered Hawks in our area are very tolerant of humans and our vehicles, noises, and activities, hawks nesting very close to houses sometimes become territorial toward humans, as they would toward other hawks, particularly when people increase their outdoor activities in springtime. These hawks may stoop (dive) at people, sometimes striking them, attempting to scare them away from the nest area. If this occurs, landowners can prevent injury by avoiding the nest area, or shielding their heads using something such an umbrella or hard hat. These behaviors seem to occur only during the nestling period, and most landowners find they can adapt to the hawks for the 6-week period. However, this aggressive territoriality is very rare.