8 Unnerving Species Of Hawks in Massachusetts: You Must Know About

Hawks in Massachusetts

Although all hawks share some basic characteristics, such as sharp vision, hooked beaks, and taloned feet, they come in a broad range of shapes and sizes.

Hawks are formidable predators. They catch, kill, and consume a broad variety of animals in order to survive.

This predation is neither malicious nor nefarious. It has been going on for millions of years and is critical to maintaining nature’s equilibrium.

Hawks in MassachusettsLengthWeightIdentification(Color)Diet/Favorite Food
Sharp-Shinned Hawk9.4-13.4 in (24-34 cm)3.1-7.7 oz (87-218 g)This hawk has a slaty blue-gray upper body, with narrow, horizontal red-orange bars on the breast.Mostly small birds and animals.
Cooper’s Hawk14.6-15.3 in (37-39 cm) to 16.5-17.7 in (42-45 cm)7.8-14.5 oz (220-410 g) to 11.6-24.0 oz (330-680 g)This hawk has a steely blue-gray upper body with warm reddish bars on the underparts and thick dark bands on the tail.Mostly small to medium birds and animals.
Red-Shouldered Hawk16.9-24.0 in (43-61 cm)17.1-27.3 oz (486-774 g)These hawks are very colorful with warm reddish barring on the breast and dark-and-white checkered wings.Mostly small birds, animals, and reptiles.
Broad-Winged Hawk 13.4-17.3 in (34-44 cm)9.3-19.8 oz (265-560 g)This hawk has a reddish-brown head, barred underbody, and broad black and white bands on the tail.Mostly small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds
Red-Tailed Hawk 17.7-22.1 in (45-56 cm) to 19.7-25.6 in (50-65 cm)24.3-45.9 oz (690-1300 g) to 31.8-51.5 oz (900-1460 g)This hawk has a rich brown upper body and pale below, with a streaked belly and, and a dark bar between shoulder and wrist.Mostly small mammals, birds, reptiles
Rough-Legged Hawk18.5-20.5 in (47-52 cm)25.2-49.4 oz (715-1400 g)These hawks are dark-brown in color with tails that are dark at the tip and pale at the base.Mostly feeds on small animals such as lemmings and voles.
Northern Harrier18.1-19.7 in (46-50 cm)10.6-26.5 oz (300-750 g)This hawk has a gray upper body and whitish lower body with black wingtips and a black-banded tail.Mostly feeds on small to medium-sized animals.
Northern Goshawk20.9-25.2 in (53-64 cm)22.3-48.1 oz (631-1364 g)This hawk has pale gray barred underparts and dark slate gray upper body. The color of the head is dark with a wide white stripe over the eye. Mostly small to medium birds and animals.

Hawks in Massachusetts

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-Shinned Hawks like building their nests, which are often lined with twigs and bark to provide adequate insulation for their eggs.

These cruel birds, on the other hand, are known for taking young birds from nests and plucking their feathers before devouring them.

The best time to see one of these ferocious creatures is during their migration in the fall. They are more common during the transitional seasons when they can be observed in large numbers, but they can also be seen in the winter.

For many years, the Sharp-Shinned Hawk was one of the most well-known hawk species. Despite their wide range, they are most commonly seen along the coast and against the mountains.

When it comes to spotting these magnificent birds, Massachusetts is a terrific place to start, especially in the fall. They can be found all across the country due to their migratory habit.

Cooper’s Hawk

Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks have very similar appearances, making identification challenging. Both species fly using the flap-flap-glide style.

Cooper’s hawks, on the other hand, are slightly larger with wider wings.

They have the shape of an accipiter, are about the size of a crow, and have broad, rounded wings and a long tail.

Cooper’s hawks are superb flyers, capable of flying fast through deep woodlands in pursuit of smaller birds.

They are most commonly seen on the outskirts of woodlands, but they can also be found in backyards.

These hawks, which used to avoid inhabited regions, are becoming more widespread in cities, suburbs, and other urban areas, where they feast on the many pigeons and doves.

Red-shouldered Hawk

They live year-round in a small area of the state in the southwestern corner.

The best time to see these accipiter hawks is during their fall migration. During migration, they migrate south in large numbers, giving you a better chance of seeing them.

They spend the majority of their time reproducing in deep forests, only leaving to seek food on wide plains.

If you have bird feeders in your yard, keep in mind that these critters are notorious for stealing innocent songbirds.

If you find a bird feeder in your yard, remove it and replace it because some hawks will be keeping eye on it.

Broad-winged Hawk

When it comes to breeding, the Broad-Winged Hawk prefers to stay hidden in dense woodlands with plenty of food.

This is required for mating, nesting, and child-rearing. Despite their intimidating look, they prefer to build their nests away from humans.

Summer is the best season to look for the Broad-Winged Hawk. This hawk is well-known for its extraordinary migratory patterns. It doesn’t just move a little bit in the cold.

When winter arrives, this one-of-a-kind bird abandons the United States entirely. After a cold front comes through, these birds may be seen traveling in huge quantities to warmer places.

To find one, listen for the piercing, single-pitched whistle that a Broad-winged hawk produces when hunting. They typically circle far above the treetops in search of little things on the ground.

Red-tailed Hawk

The Red-Tailed Hawk has a large wingspan and is a fearsome bird. With an almost ridiculously large wingspan, this bird can be seen flying through the air. Given its size, it is unsurprising that it can terrify and devour almost any little creature.

Because they are migratory, you will observe them flying across the sky during the day to keep warm when the weather cools.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is a huge bird that can be seen from a long distance. It has no qualms about being publicly exposed due to its dominant posture and massive size.

They’ve been spotted on telephone poles, fences, and other prominent places.

In the evenings, they can be spotted lurking on the fringes of the woods, waiting for a meal to materialize on the ground below. If you want to see a Red-Tailed Hawk, look for one throughout the day.

Rough-legged Hawk

The Rough-Legged Hawk is a proud and protective creature that prioritises nesting and mating. It is well-known for building high-altitude nests that provide a bird’s-eye view of the world below.

Because other birds in the neighbourhood are likely to annoy these birds, they build their nests so high.

Their strong nests are meant to be extremely lasting and low-maintenance because they are reused year after year.

The Rough-Legged Hawk is an adventurer, commonly spotted searching the world for its next meal. 

Northern Harrier

Northern Harriers are the most owl-like of the hawk species. They rely heavily on their keen hearing and vision to hunt for prey.

These hawks have long, broad wings and are about the size of a crow or a goose. They usually fly in a v-formation, with the tips of their wings higher than the tips of their bodies.

Males are grey on top and white on the bottom, with a white rump patch. Females are brown in colour.

Northern Harriers eat mostly small mammals and birds. They make their nests on the ground in dense vegetation such as reeds, willows, or brushtails. They have 4-5 dull white eggs in their clutch.

Northern Goshawk

Northern goshawks are more solitary than other hawks, which makes them more difficult to locate.

The Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks are cousins, albeit the Sharp-shinned is larger and more aggressive. Their eyes are reddish-orange in colour and have white lines above them.

They have an accipiter shape, with short, broad wings and a long tail that allows them to move fast while hunting their preferred diet of small birds.

Humans are vulnerable to their ferocity. Northern goshawks have been known to attack anyone who approaches their nests too closely.

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