Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)

RMRP’s Educational Ambassador Ferruginous Hawk has a story that embodies our mission. In 2003, the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife confiscated a Ferruginous Hawk that was being kept illegally by someone, and they placed her in our care during the court case. We strive to teach everyone that wildlife should remain wild. Our Educational Ambassador Raptors are special, one-of-a-kind examples of their species.

This young Ferruginous Hawk had been taken from her nest as a young chick, and became imprinted on humans as a result. Raptors that are hand fed and raised by well-meaning people often become imprinted on humans, and this condition is permanent. Human imprints don’t learn proper species specific behaviors and life skills, they see humans as their food source, and also as potential mates for breeding. Imprinting on humans leaves them unable to survive on their own out in the wild.

So, although there was nothing wrong with her physically, she will never return to the wild.

RMRP took her on as an Educational Ambassador, hoping her tale could remind everyone to let wildlife remain wild. Imprinted raptors cannot return to the wild. Purposeful human imprinting can be very useful in human-care situations when rearing certain raptors to become Educational Ambassadors for their species, falconry birds, or to propagate future generations of endangered raptors for the survival of their species.

Her story is a reminder to leave wildlife wild, that wild animals do not make appropriate house pets, and that caring for wildlife should always be left to trained and licensed individuals.

Ferruginous Hawks are a Species of Special Concern in Colorado, meaning their populations are decreasing rapidly and widely.

This special raptor was named Maeve, meaning “She Who Rules.”