Birds of prey attract our attention. Eagles are large and majestic, falcons are among the fastest flying birds, and hawks seem to soar effortlessly on thermals as they search for prey. As predators in the food chain they play an important role of keeping rodents populations in check. This juvenile red-tailed hawk lacked the wariness of mature adult birds, but had learned some of the skills needed to survive on its own. Its first year will likely be the most difficult.