Juvenile red-tailed hawk swoops in near Hawthorn Mall

  • A juvenile red-tailed hawk launches from a bush near a Hawthorn Mall parking lot Wednesday in Vernon Hills.

      A juvenile red-tailed hawk launches from a bush near a Hawthorn Mall parking lot Wednesday in Vernon Hills. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/6/2020 4:49 PM

A juvenile red-tailed hawk, most likely less than a year old, was seen looking over the Hawthorn Mall parking lot in Vernon Hills on Wednesday.

It's the most common hawk in Lake County, according to Nan Buckardt, director of education at the Lake County Forest Preserves. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Buckardt says a telltale sign of a juvenile is its striped tail. The hawk could have been resting or searching for food in the bushes, most likely mice.

"Red-tail hawks get the red tail feathers with their first molt in the first summer after hatch year," she said. "Red-tails like wood areas for nesting (build large nests on tree tops) but hunt in open areas. They eat rodents, snakes, rabbits."

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