Just wondering if this is normal behavior, or if someone has an explanation for it.

My wife noticed a hawk perched on a branch of a small tree in our yard, about six feet off the ground. After about half an hour I went out and took pictures of it. I didn’t get closer than about twenty feet, but it didn’t seem the least bit concerned.

It stayed in that tree for several hours, then it dropped to the ground, walked across the yard, across a dirt road, down into a drainage ditch and up the other side, and across our neighbor’s yard to a three-door shrub. It climbed onto the shrub, with some flapping of wings, and perched on top of it.

When our neighbor got home he parked his ca about five feet from the hawk. He took some pictures of it.

After he went inside it dropped down to the ground again, walked along the front of the house, and around the corner into the side yard. Haven’t seen it since.

So, two things seem odd. First, it didn’t fly. Second, people got surprisingly close to it without getting a reaction.

My wife thinks it was a red-tailed hawk. We’re in south-central Indiana. Temperature was in the teens. There’s no snow on he ground.

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  • 3
    If it is not a juvenile it might be ill or injured. It is also possible it has escaped from captivity which is why it isn't afraid of humans.
    – ahron
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 6:34

1 Answer 1


As commented likely injured or sick. They will sit on a perch but normally it is high to give a good vantage point. Is there any road near by ? I recently picked up a young red tail hawk from an interstate highway. He was just standing in the right lane. I was able to stop quickly and back a short distance down the freeway to pick him up ( do not try this at home). He showed no damage and appeared to be in shock, apparently much like your bird. I was able to put a shirt over him and pick him up with no resistance. I drove about 10 minutes to a state park by which time he was moving some . I set him on the ground 50ft from the entry house where there were a couple park employees. The point is ,I had to move the bird, you do not . I suggest leave him and hope for the best. In our area, animal rehab people will usually not come to pick up an animal unless it is in a cage or box.

  • 2
    @pete-becker are there any wildlife related organizations nearby that you could call and check with? Hawks do walk around from time to time but for it to be walking more than it flies is not normal.
    – ahron
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 16:08

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