Audubon studied the habits of the pair of hawks represented here over a period of three years, and this devotion resulted in one of the finest works he did in Louisiana before sailing to Liverpool in 1826. "The mutual attachment of the male and the female continues during life," Audubon wrote. "They usually hunt in pairs during the whole year; and although they built a new nest every spring, they are fond of resorting to the same parts of the woods for that purpose."
Although it has been known as the "big chicken hawk," and "hen hawk," only a small percentage of the red-shouldered hawk's food is made up of poultry. In truth, the bird is very valuable to the farmer, with ninety percent of its prey made up of mammals and insects injurious to his crops.