Red-tailed Hawk (Wings of the World by Safari Ltd.)

Review and photos by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972

Some years ago, back when I was living in a condominium smack dab in the middle of downtown Ottawa, Ontario, I was walking home from the gym when I decided to take a shortcut through a parking garage. Lo and behold, I came across a large red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) in the midst of devouring a common rock pigeon! Presumably it had caught its victim on the wing, then flown down into the garage to dine in private. I didn’t have a decent camera on me, unfortunately, but I stood and observed from a good distance for quite some time. Needless to say, it was a fascinating sight!

The red-tailed hawk is one of North America’s most successful birds of prey. Its range covers most of the continent as well as the Caribbean islands, and it is as comfortable in deserts and grasslands as it is in forests and urban areas. At least 14 subspecies exist, and my guess is that this 2017 Safari Ltd. Wings of the World figure represents the one I encountered in that parking lot, the eastern red-tail (B. j. borealis).

The hawk is sculpted charismatically with both its mighty wings and its tail feather spread wide, as though it is preparing to take flight or just stretching its muscles. This gives it a length of 7.5 cm and a width of 14 cm (1:10 scale for a large specimen). Main colours are medium brown and beige with dark brown and white accents on the wings and tail, pale yellow feet, and black for the tip of the bill and the talons. Oddly, the eyes are painted a very pale shade of green when they ought to be brown. And while the beige goes well with the brown, white really ought to have been employed instead.

No complaints can be made about this hawk’s sculpting, however. Its plumage has been painstakingly sculpted and the individual types of feather, from the large primaries on the wingtips to the alulas and the coverts on the front of the wings to the countless contour feathers on the main body. The tip of the hawk’s bill is hooked, as befitting a bird of prey and the talons, while blunted for safety, are large and formidable-looking. In addition to pigeons and other birds, red-tailed hawks prey on a huge variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. While they are known to compete with other hawks over territory and food, their only true enemy is the great horned owl, which has been known to kill and consume adult red-tails as well as juveniles. Great horned owls (Safari offers a figure of this species as well!) will also take over red-tail nests for their own use.

Overall, the Safari red-tailed hawk is an impressive rendition of the real deal, although the colours could use a couple of modifications. All I need now is a pigeon figure to go with it!

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