6 Interesting Facts About The Broad-Winged Hawk

It’s a jaw dropping experience to see kettles of Broad-winged Hawks circling past the hawk watch. Your heart pounds and your adrenaline flows as hundreds of these birds soar and stream. Everyone on the ridge is excited and riveted by the spectacle. Is there anything else like it? If you see it once, you’ll be hooked on hawk watching for the rest of your life.

As I continue to learn more about the Broad-winged Hawk, here is some of the information that I have gathered:

  • Although the Broad-winged Hawk’s numbers are relatively stable, populations are declining in some parts of its breeding range because of forest fragmentation.
  • The subspecies of the Broad-winged Hawks that migrate will fly in flocks of more than forty up to hundreds of thousands of birds at heights anywhere from 1,800 ft to approximately 4,300 ft.
  • Fall migration for the Broad-winged Hawk lasts for 70 days as birds migrate about 60 miles per day from North America, through Central America to South America without crossing salt water
  • Broad-winged Hawks give special attention to preparing their food for consumption, skinning frogs and snakes and plucking prey birds’ feathers. Most small mammals on the other hand will be eaten whole.
  • Broad-winged Hawks rarely drink water and are able to survive solely with the water present in their prey
  • To attract and court females, the male Broad-winged Hawk will perform a courtship display flight including cartwheels, dives, and other aerial acrobatics. Birds meet in the air, hook their feet together and spiral down together.

Rick Sedivec filmed this impressive video of migrating Broad-winged Hawks at the Wildcat Ridge Hawk Watch Migrating Broad-Winged Hawks

The chart below shows the numbers of Broad-winged Hawks that have been counted at the Picatinny Peak, Raccoon Ridge, Scott’s Mountain, Sunrise Mountain, and Wildcat Ridge hawk watches in Northwest New Jersey.



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