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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Red-Tailed Hawk in Queen’s Park

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On a walk through Queen’s Park yesterday afternoon, I spotted a huge bird in one of the trees. I started walking towards it only to realize it was, to my surprise, a red-tailed hawk. Many people approached when they saw me snapping pictures — parents pointing it out to their kids, OPS employees on their lunch breaks, picnickers. It was nice to see everyone out appreciating the little bit of wildlife that we get to see from time to time in the city.

The bird turned around nicely a few times so that everyone could get a good view of him from all sides, and as he put his back to everyone, his beautiful red tail hung down from the branch on which he was sitting. Queen’s Park is usually completely overrun by squirrels — but not yesterday; they were clearly staying far away for a good reason. Half a dozen people stood to watch him for a while but dissipated after a few minutes. The hawk just continued to sit while people passed by.

Top photo by Megan Hall; bottom photo by Susheela Willis



  1. i think it was just this hawk i spotted circling around ossington and dundas over the weekend. between the airshow and a hawk gliding and circling above traffic, all eyes were on the sky.

  2. I see this hawk perched on the railings of the law school library overlooking Philosopher’s Walk sometimes. It always makes my day.

    There was an article about it one of the papers last year. It’s been living, I think, on the legislature building for the last couple of years. The squirrels in Queen’s Park have been noticeably less forward since then. Good to have something to keep them in balance.

  3. the resemblance to columbia’s hawkmadinejad is uncanny. could it be him?

  4. I took LEAF’s evening tree-and-sculpture guided walk at Queen’s Park a few weeks ago. We were told that there are some red-tailed hawks nesting on the southwest corner of the building.

  5. There are a couple of hawks living around QP. I live around there and I see them all the time. I’ve counted 4 at once. All hunting. They’re nice hawks. And big as English Sheepdogs.

  6. Today, 12/4/08, around 2:15 pm, I saw a beautiful large hawk perched on a second floor fire escape on 30th Avenue off the corner of Crescent Street, (across the street from Mt. Sinai Hospital) in Astoria. A crowd had formed. With their heads looking up, everyone with a cell phone camera was snaping fotos of at this beautiful raptor as it posed regally! It was a sight to see… Unfortunately, I did not have my camera!! Then, as if the hawk had enough of this ‘celebrity’ attention it open its large wings and took off heading south west… Every one in the crowd let out a sound of ‘Awwwwwww!”

  7. There are quite a number of Red Tail Hawks who live in the ravine that backs onto Mount Pleasant Cemetery, including a morph Red Tail that is indigenous to Colorado. The morph Red Tail is much darker in colour than the brown and cream Red Tail. I live on the 23rd floor of a highrise that overlooks the cemetery and see them frequently, in fact, I have had one land on my balcony railing. It’s always a thrill.

  8. I spotted the Riverdale Red Tail Hawk ten minutes ago. I had not seen it in a year when I came face to face with it – is was diving for a pigeon near my balcony.

    Seeing that raptor gives me some hope with some work Toronto can have birds like this in its habitat.

  9. I just saw one of the red tailed hawks DIVE right out of the air and smash a pigeon into the ground, then land across the street on queens park circle. That was the most spectacular display of nature I’ve ever seen in Toronto, I’m completely mystified.

  10. A large hawk just landed on my window sill at Queen’s Park. I suppose it was a red-tail, but it seemed a bit darker than the one pictured above (white breast not so noticeable).