We studied necropsy results from carcasses of 163 red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center from 1975 through 1992. The most frequent postmortem finding was emaciation of unknown etiology, diagnosed in 33 (20%) carcasses. Proportionally more juveniles than adults were emaciated. Evidence of non-gunshot trauma, often suggestive of collision with vehicles or structures near roadways, was found in 29 (18%) birds. Of 25 (15%) toxicoses, 20 were attributed to agricultural pesticides, including famphur (4), fenthion (3), carbofuran (2), phosphamidon (2), endrin (1), and unidentified organophosphorus compounds (8). Lead and strychnine poisoning were diagnosed in two birds each, and selenium poisoning in one. Diseases, including aspergillosis, tuberculosis, pasteurellosis, and pox, were found in 21 (13%) hawks. Gunshot and electrocution were each diagnosed in six (4%) birds, one (0.6%) was trapped, miscellaneous conditions were found in 10 (6%), and no diagnosis could be determined for 32 (19%) of the carcasses.
Additional Publication Details
A retrospective study of postmortem findings in red-tailed hawks