Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

What are those birds sitting on highway light poles?

Gaby Spadafora of Edmonds was curious about something recently:

“What species of bird sits on the light posts above our highways? And why does this one type of bird hang out up there?”

We tracked down Seattle bird expert, Connie Sidles. She said the birds are Red-tailed hawks.

Have a question? Submit it here and a reporter may follow up.

The opportunistic feeders favor road kill, particularly rodents. Hanging out above busy roads is a great place to find lots of food.

Red-tailed hawks are probably the most common hawk in North America.

Sidles said we see them more often than other hawks because they don’t mind humans. Besides, our vehicles are what supplies their snacks.

Look for brown or beige colored plumage and a band on their bellies that looks like a cummerbund. Only adult red-tailed hawks have the trademark reddish-brown tail.