Red-shouldered Hawks occupy the eastern half of North America from southern Canada to Florida, as well as western California and Baja, Mexico.
They are common throughout their range due to their ability to adapt to urban development. The population appears to be increasing at the north end of the range in the western United States.
They seek a wide variety of prey, including voles, mice, shrews, birds, snakes, frogs, lizards, fish, crayfish, spiders, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, and earthworms. They hunt from a perch in a tree or on a fencepost, often near water.
Like most hawks, they build a stick nest in a tree. The nest is placed midway up the tree and is lined with leaves and lichens. The female lays 2-5 eggs that are incubated for 33 days. The young fledge about 45 days later and become adults at 2 years of age.