What is the spiritual meaning of a red tailed hawk?

Red tailed hawks are amazing and super beautiful birds that you can see dotting the highways of the United States and around the world. You will often see them perching on road signs, power lines, and at the tops of trees in winter. A red tailed hawk is a majestic creature and when you see one, you will feel truly blessed.

As pagans, Wiccans, and magic users, we know that when we see something unusual, we can view it as a sign from the gods, the universe, or whatever spiritual energy we believe in. Therefore, red tailed hawk encounters may mean something to you, or your practice. Wherever you are in life, you can derive meaning from a red tailed hawk sighting.

A red tailed hawk sits on a tree

Red tailed hawk symbolism: a few easy traits to pick out

The spiritual meaning of a red tailed hawk is vision

Red tailed hawks are known for their ability to see hundreds of feet away. They can fly really high up in the sky, and still spot a mouse screwing around on the ground. It is truly amazing to watch a red tailed hawk leave the sky to get a squirrel or a bunny. Their vision is excellent.

If you see a red tailed hawk, it may mean something to you about your own vision. Do you feel like you're seeing things clearly? Or are things hazy? Maybe the red tailed hawk is there to tell you how to see things more clearly. Use your 20,000 ft eyes instead of your ground eyes to see if you can spot patterns that you couldn't see before. The red tailed hawk symbolism around vision is second to none. 

In general, humans are really great at detecting patterns. But we can't stand up against a red tailed hawk. So lean into your instincts and learn to trust the spiritual meaning of the hawk. Red tailed hawks are speaking, if you will only listen to them.

Close up photo of red tailed hawk

Red tailed hawks teach us to be hunters

It is often said that you can't help yourself if you don't take that first step. Prayer does nothing without action. Spells do nothing without taking the first step yourself. A red tailed hawk may be reminding you to take that first action.

Red tailed hawks, and many other birds of prey, only eat meat. They must hunt for their food. There is not enough nutrition in the world through roadkill, nuts, seeds, or very small insects to nourish them. They have to take the lead, have to be decisive, in order to feed themselves. Red tailed hawk symbolism says: be decisive.

Likewise, you need to be prepared to take the action that you need to take to make your life better. Maybe it is applying for that new job. Or, maybe it's finally learning how to cook so that you stop eating out so much. Maybe it's taking the leap and actually becoming engaged in your faith or your magical practice. Whatever it is, the red tailed hawk spiritual meaning is telling you to take that leap and take your first step.

Don't be afraid to stand out.

Another lesson that we can learn from red tailed hawks is the willingness to stand out in a crowd. Red tailed hawks are striking against the sky as they fly in circles. You can also spot them from anywhere as they sit on poles looking down at the world. Red tailed hawks are not afraid.

And you shouldn't be afraid either. Red tailed hawks have a bright red plumage and they're not afraid to show it. Embrace your style, with all of your quirks. Don't be afraid to speak your mind, make your opinions known. You may engage in constructive dialogue and learn something from your friends, family, and coworkers. Red tailed hawk symbolism is courage and speaking truth to power.

a red tailed hawk soaring

Red tailed hawks are about commitment

Scientists will often tell us that certain species of birds mate for life. As scientists, we don't actually know how true it is, but evidence does point to monogamy among hawks like red tails. Red tailed hawks will choose a partner and stick with them through several mating seasons. The males and females will both forage to find food for their chicks.

If you've been having relationship problems, seeing a red tailed hawk may be telling you to step up your game. In order to have a successful relationship both of you need to participate. You need to show up for your partner when they are feeling vulnerable or sick or just not up to speed. The value of having a partner is so that you can have support when you're feeling overwhelmed.

So if you feel like your relationship has been on the rocks, the red tailed hawk might be telling you to take a closer look, engage with your partner, and work to find solutions.

Frequently asked questions about a red tailed hawk sighting

Do I have a red tailed hawk spirit animal?

Unless you are descended from indigenous peoples, you cannot use red tailed hawk spirit animals, a red tail hawk “power animal”, or other terms that are adopted from Native American traditions in your spiritual practice.

Native American peoples were systematically destroyed by white settlers – who are, in some respects, my ancestors. As a white person living in this modern world, it's my duty to remove as much colonization as I can from my spiritual practice. Therefore, using the term “spirit animal” in my practice is unacceptable. Using a red tail hawk spirit animal is equally offensive.

If you are not indigenous, you should use a different term for a close relationship with what the hawk represents. A red tailed hawk could be your patronus, or focus animal, or simply a sign from the spirit world. Animal messenger is another term that isn't quite as offensive as spirit animal. 

some words are reserved for BIPOC individuals.

What does it mean when a hawk flies?

If a hawk appears in the sky, it is likely looking for food, a mate, or both. Hawks are really common in North America and you'll see a hawk fly in all seasons of the year. It's special to watch. Keep a close eye on them to see if you can see the hawk flying to get food or meeting up with a partner.

What does it mean when I see a red tailed hawk sitting on a power line?

If there's a hawk sitting on a power line, it's likely watching for food. As birds of prey, hawks need to hunt regularly. If you're lucky, you might get to see when the hawk swoops down to catch a mouse or squirrel. Many hawks are amazingly quick in flight. 

Did I find a hawk feather?

Maybe! It is more common to find wild turkey feathers than it is to find a red tailed hawk feather, but you can find them. If you want to buy one, please buy one from ethical sources, and try to send your money to Native American and indigenous sellers. Consider it reparations. 

What does a baby hawk look like?

Baby hawks, like most young birds of prey are ugly. They're not focused on their looks yet because they're just trying to grow. You'll often see a mama or papa hawk flying near the nest to find food for the babies. Birds of prey grow up eating meat, so their parents need to hunt.

What do I do when a red tailed hawk appears?

Nothing, just enjoy the show. If the hawk seems to be angry with you, then please move to a safer space. It may be trying to defend its nest. A hawk soars when it's hunting, but it'll divebomb your head if you get too close to the nest. 

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