Our Education Birds: Anastasia

Anastasia (better known as "Annie") is a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). She was found in Charleston, West Virginia, in October 1987 on a back porch with jesses (leather leash straps) attached to her legs. It was obvious that Annie had imprinted on humans. "Imprinting" is the process animals go through to develop their identities and familial attachments. We assume that Annie was illegally taken from a nest as a very young chick and kept illegally as a pet. Since Annie was raised by people, she developed this familial attachment to humans instead of other Red-tailed Hawks. Annie has no natural fear of humans, and therefore cannot be released back into the wild. When Annie arrived at our center in 1987 she was an adult bird of at least two years old.

Annie is a female Red-tailed Hawk. Like all female raptors, she is larger than male birds of the same species. In the past, Annie has served as an adoptive mother, raising clutches of a variety of species of hawks. Annie will often lay two or three unfertilized eggs each spring.


Physically, Annie is in good health, despite deteriorating eyesight due to age. In the wild, Red-tailed Hawks have a lifespan of fifteen to twenty years; it is relatively unknown how long Red-tailed Hawks can live in captivity, though there are reports of captive Red-tails reaching twenty-nine years of age. Hopefully, we’ll have the pleasure of Annie’s company for years to come!

Our most popular education bird, Annie travels to more than one program per week each year! She is so gentle that children can often stroke her chest feathers. Popular with our volunteers, rarely a day goes by without physical interaction between Annie and one of her human friends.

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Annie's Image Gallery:

Annie up close
Annie in her flight cage

Annie in her flight cage 2
Annie and a young friend
Annie and Natasha
Annie and Melissa at Pow-wow, 2004


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