Student with very large adult female red-tail hawk (1500+ grams.)
Red-tailed Hawk Gender Ratios in Central Nebraska (Buffalo, Co.)
Summary: Project involves investigating the ratio of male to female red-tailed hawks wintering in central Nebraska. Unlike American kestels, which can be assigned a gender based on appearance, red-tailed hawks are essentially identical in the appearance of their plumage. However, females are significantly larger than males, so gender can be determined by morphological measurements which necessitates capture of the hawks.
Status: As of writing, the project is in its second year of data collection. Preliminary analysis indicate that wintering females significantly outnumber males in the region.
Opportunities for Students: Participating in the data collection during year three exists. Work involves trapping and taking morphological measurements to determine the gender of each individual. Experience in the capture and safe handling of birds of prey would be obtained.
Additional Information: Students are expected to share data with other students. As what birds will be trapped is essentially random, we trap what we can and share data with students working on other projects.
Students measuring the mass of a tapped red-tailed hawk.
Student with a juvinile red-tailed hawk. Note lack of red tail and yellow eyes.
Releasing of red-tailed hawk after taking measurements in the field.