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Wildlife in Philadelphia
July 13, 2019
red tailed hawk

Living in the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia, it can be easy to forget the natural world around us. Many of us have pets that we love, but what about the animals that live literally and figuratively in our backyards? While these animals may not rely on us for canned food and a plush bed, they do rely on us to protect their “forever homes.” 

One of these animals, the Red Tailed Hawk, often cohabitates with us in the city. These beautiful birds are known to create nests on Philadelphia rooftops and leverage the height to hunt by diving down onto their prey with incredible speeds. Red Tailed Hawks usually mate for life, and both males and females take turns incubating their eggs until the young hatch after four to five weeks. (Learn more about these birds through the link at the bottom).

With serene nature trails less than 8 miles from Center City, rivers running through Philadelphia’s busiest areas, and animals like the Red Tailed Hawk living on our rooftops, Philadelphians have the unique privilege (and responsibility) to enjoy the beauty of the city and nature simultaneously. Many animals, some seen and some elusive, still inhabit the natural worlds that overlap with the city. To help protect these animals and their “forever homes,” check out some tips below. 

  1. Throw trash in trash bins - throwing trash on the ground, even on a sidewalk, leads to plastic and pollution in our waterways and dangers to our wildlife. 
  2. Commute to work - take the bus, carpool, and if possible, bike. Limiting or eliminating some of our air pollution makes the air healthier for us and for our wildlife friends.
  3. Limit energy use - if you own your home, consider switching to cleaner energy sources; if you rent, consider turning your AC or heat down or off while you are away.
  4. Start a garden or buy local - this helps eliminate pesticide use and transportation pollution. Green spaces help naturally clean the air and environment. 
  5. Recycle and buy used products- help eliminate wasteful furniture, clothing, or decor purchasing and buy from a thrift store or previous owner. 

While it is our responsibility to help these animals maintain their environments, this does not mean we should trap them and bring them home like we might with a cat or dog. Wildlife is safest and happiest in nature; if you see a wild animal in your yard, on your roof, or while hiking, the best thing to do is to leave it where it is. Instead, pick up the plastic bottle someone left behind. If you find an injured wild animal or a wild animal enters your home, check out some resources below.

  1. Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center -
  2. The Schuylkill Center -  OR 

It takes a team to make a difference. Let’s not only stick up for our beloved dogs, cats, small animals, and other household pets, but also for the animals that live in the natural environment in and around Philadelphia!