Brooklin Lions Wilderness Trail > Trail Guide > Post 7

Page revised June 6/01. The latest version of the guide is always available on

Post 7: Raptor Snags

At one time hawks, eagles, and owls were shot as they were considered vermin. Today they are protected. All birds of prey, or raptors, have keen eyesight and sharp talons for grasping their catch. Soaring Red-tailed Hawks, and tiny falcons called American Kestrels have been sighted in the valley. Perhaps the tiger of the woods, the Great Horned Owl, hunts at night as well as the shy and diminutive Northern Saw-whet Owl.

Raptors often perch on dead trees or snags as they offer a clear, foliage-free view of the surrounding area. Between the trail and the creek to the north-west and to the south-west are two telephone poles put in place with the co-operation of Whitby Hydro to act as raptor snags. Hopefully, birds of prey will use them for successful hunting, and hopefully too, we might catch a look of these wonderful carnivorous birds.

Hey Kids!


Some hawks stay for the winter while others migrate north in the spring. Keep an eye out for dark, soaring Turkey Vultures that rock in the wind and large crooked winged Ospreys.


If you see a large soaring hawk it is probably a Red-tailed Hawk. One problem though, its tail is not really red but a rufous or brown colour.


Beginning in September, many hawks migrate south. It’s tough to identify hawks in flight, but check out a bird book and see if you can tell the difference between a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Broad-winged Hawk, and an American Kestrel. Happy hawking!


Red-tailed Hawks can be seen in the winter as can Rough-legged Hawks that come here from the arctic. Rough-legged Hawks are similar to their Red-tailed cousins but have a dark band at the end of a white tail and they can hover in one position.

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