At Presqu'ile provincial park, roughly
40 km to the south, the
is said to be an uncommon spring migrant
(early March to early May), common
fall migrant (mid-August to late November) and rare summer and winter
resident, breeding in the park (LaForest, 1993, p.108).
In Peterborough county, to the northwest, the hawk
is said to be the common large hawk of the area,
a summer resident which has been known to overwinter
(Sadler, 1983, p.62).
Overall, the red-tailed hawk is one of the most
abundant and widespread raptors
in North America. The mixed woodlands
and fields of our area are a suitable habitat.
It is widely distributed throughout
the heavily agricultural south of Ontario
(Cadman et al., 1987, pp.124-125).
The species has remained abundant over the past three
decades, and is particularly numerous south of the
(Cadman et al., 2007, pp.184-185).
The latest atlas shows the red-tail to be especially
concentrated between southern Lake Huron and the north shore of Lake Erie,
and eastwards from Rice Lake
past Kingston to the St. Lawrence waterway.
You may note a drastic reduction in sightings since 2014. One possible explanation is purely local, and not necessarily a reflection of the species as a whole. For years, many sightings were made of hawks perched on a dead tree west of town, surveying the meadow and stream bank nearby. It may be that the death of one or two individuals broke this "chain of habit" and accounts for the evident disappearance. A similar scenario may apply to the osprey (latest decade of data not compiled at time of writing), wherein the removal of one nearby nest platform made random, close-to-our-home sightings less likely.
Cadman,MD, Eagles,PFJ and Helleiner,FM (1987) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory, published by University of Waterloo Press, 617pp.
Cadman,MD, Sutherland,DA, Beck,GG, Lepage,D and Couturier,AR (editors) (2007) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada, Environment Canada, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, 706pp.
LaForest,SM (1993) Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Friends of Presqu'ile Park / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 436pp.
Sadler,D (1983) Our Heritage of Birds: Peterborough County in the Kawarthas. Peterborough Field Naturalists / Orchid Press, Peterborough, ON, 192pp.