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The Red-Tailed Hawk: A Parklands Champion

| Elizabeth Willenbrink

Well folks, after six grueling weeks of competition, Parklands Madness came to a close this Saturday, with the Red-Tailed Hawk claiming an astounding victory over the Monarch Butterfly! Out of 64 native Kentucky species, Parklands fans consistently backed, applauded, and voted for the hawk, giving it an unsurmountable edge over the small, but mighty butterfly.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is an iconic Kentucky raptor, found flying in both our wild areas and around our neighborhoods. With a hooked beak, long talons, and impeccable eyesight, the hawk is a formidable predator that dominates its habitat. In addition to its fine-tuned adaptations, Red-Tailed Hawks also possesses valor and grace, often sitting in trees quietly and calmly, waiting for the perfect moment to swoop down.

Did you know that the domineering cry of the Red-Tailed Hawk has been used as a symbol of American Patriotism for decades? Yep, that Bald Eagle cry you always hear played is not an eagle at all, but the sound of a humble Red-Tailed Hawk!

Now that the challenge has come to an end, our next challenge to you is to lace up your sneakers and head out for a hike, bike, or walk at The Parklands to look and listen for the Red-Tailed Hawk, our Parklands Madness Champion!

Finally, congratulations to our Parklands Madness Bracket Winner Neil Winegar! Neil was one of four participants to choose the Red-Tailed Hawk as champion and his name was selected in our tie-breaking drawing. Neil has won one free week of Summer Camp at The Parklands! Congratulations, Neil!

We want to thank everyone who participated in this fun virtual event! In these trying times, it is truly uplifting to experience so many dedicated park-goers who are passionate about Kentucky-native plants and animals. THANK YOU!

About the Author

Picture of Elizabeth Willenbrink

Elizabeth Willenbrink

Elizabeth joined The Parklands team in March of 2019 as an Interpretive Ranger. In this position, she specializes in outdoor education experiences for school groups ranging from Kindergarten – 12th grade. She also works on curriculum development for The Parklands Outdoor and Virtual Classrooms, creating content for field trips, in-school outreach programs, and online learning that aligns with Next Generation Science Standards. Elizabeth attended Western Kentucky University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Geosciences, with a special focus on stakeholder communication in UNESCO-designated National Parks. Before coming to The Parklands, Elizabeth worked as a high school science teacher in Las Vegas. Elizabeth makes it her goal to be outside every day, either on a long run through the city or a hike in The Parklands. She also loves to bring the outdoors inside, with a family of four pets and a collection of over 100 houseplants!

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