Brenda – Red-tailed Hawk

Brenda’s story

Brenda is a female red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) that came to us in February of 2002 after she was found hanging by her wing in a tree. Upon examination, it was discovered she had been shot with a pellet gun multiple times. Although her left wing is still completely intact, arthritis has taken over and she cannot fully extend that wing. This prevents her from being released back into the wild. Brenda is a dark morph red-tailed hawk. This morph is more commonly found in the Northwest than any other part of the U.S.

Brenda’s coloring is different from the medium-brown color of most red-tailed Hawks. Other than her red tail feathers, all of her other feathers are a deep, rich brown color. This dark color pattern is called a “dark morph,” or melanistic, and is found in no more than 20% of the red-tailed hawk population.