An ecological study of a nesting Red-shouldered Hawk population was made over a 185 square mile area on the Coastal Plain of Maryland in 1947. The courting and nesting season extended from late February until late June.....During the nesting season a combination of fairly extensive flood-plain forest with adjacent clearings appears to meet the major ecological requirements of the Red-shouldered Hawk in this region. A total of 51 pairs was found in the study area, occupying about 42 square miles or 23% of the total area studied. The population density on the land that was suitable for this species was about 1 pair per .8 of a square mile, while the density for the entire study area would be only about 1 pair per 3.6 square miles.....Nests were spaced fairly evenly over most of the flood-plain forests, especially in areas where the width.of the flood plain was relatively constant. There was an inverse correlation between the width of the flood plain and the distances between nests in adjacent territories. The nests were all situated in fairly large trees and were from 28 feet to 77 feet above the ground, averaging 50. They were found in 14 different species of trees, all deciduous.....The Barred Owl and Red-shouldered Hawk were commonly associated together in the same lowland habitats. Other raptores were all largely restricted to upland habitats....The average number of young in 47 occupied nests following the hatching period was 2.7 with extremes of 1 and 4. Only 3 out of 52 nests (6%) were found deserted at this time....The food habits of nestling Red-shouldered Hawks are very diversified. They feed on many types of warm-blooded and cold-blooded vertebrates as well as invertebrates.
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Ecology of a nesting red-shouldered hawk population