With more than 11,000 lakes, Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes (11,842). Hawks have plenty of room to soar and zero in on their prey on the ground level thanks to a diverse environment that includes woods, open landscapes, and aquatic locations. All year long, you’ll be able to see hawks flying over the state. In addition to birds and small animals, hawks also hunt and consume snakes and frogs, making them true predators in the natural world. In their quest to catch prey, they can benefit from their ability to see UV light.
Types Of Hawks In Minnesota
People in Minnesota are familiar with the Red-tailed Hawk, which is the state’s most common hawk. One of the most well-known hawks in the United States and the second-largest in North America, this hawk has roughly 2 million nests. Nearly ninety percent of the world’s Red-tailed Hawks live in this area.
These massive raptors range in size from 17.7 to 25.6 inches in height and weight from 24.3 to 51.5 ounces in weight. Also, their wingspan is between 44.9 and 52.4 inches. It is not uncommon to witness Red-tailed Hawks perched on telephone poles or soaring above roadsides in search of prey during the day or early morning. Because they prey on species larger than songbirds, they are rarely seen in backyards, lurking about feeders.
Smaller than crows, Cooper’s Hawk is considered medium-sized in Minnesota, and the females are larger than the males. At first glance, this bird seems like the Sharp-Shinned Hawk because of its similar blue-gray coloring, steel blue feathers on the wings and back, brown underbellies with brown and red stripes, and a tiny black cap on top of its head. Size is a defining characteristic that separates the two types of animals.
The Swainson’s hawk, one of Minnesota’s most admirable hawks, can be a joy to see, especially when it migrates in thousands of birds. In the spring and fall, when it is nesting in the state’s southern and western regions, you have the highest chance of seeing this bird.
The breeding season for Northern Harriers occurs from March through November in Minnesota. Only 3% of people make a summer to-do list that includes them. Before moving south for the winter to southern states and Central American countries, Northern Harriers breed in Alaska, Canada, the northern Great Plains, and the Northeast. People who fall in this intermediate category are there all year.
In grasslands and wetlands, this long-tailed hawk can be spotted. Most of the prey of Northern Harriers is comprised of small animals and birds prey. They build their nests in reeds, willows, or brushtails, which are all types of thick vegetation. They lay four to five dull white eggs.
An adult Red-shouldered Hawk may reach a wingspan of 37.0 inches and measure 16.9 to 24.0 inches in length, weight, and size. In other words, this hawk belongs to the family of huge hawks that can be found not only in Minnesota but around the world.
When perched, these hawks’ crimson shoulders make them stand out. The underwings and bellies are mostly white, while the wings are striped with white and dark brown feathers. Additionally, they have a striped breast and a tail that is heavily banded.
Red-shouldered Hawks, unlike Red-tailed Hawks, are usually found in woodlands. Hunters prefer woodlands with open canopies since it provides more room for them to conduct their business.
The Sharp-shinned Hawk, especially the male, is the smallest hawk in Minnesota and the United States as a whole, standing between 9.4 and 13.4 inches tall, weighing 3.1 to 7.7 ounces, and having a wingspan of 16.9 to 22.1 inches. It is estimated that females are around one-third larger than males.
Most of these raptors are capable of performing some impressive stunts. On the wings and back, they have a coat of slate-colored feathers. A Sharp-shinned Hawk can be identified by the orange feathers on its upper breast that fade toward the belly.
Some of their offspring have underbelly feathers, whereas the majority of their progeny are brown-colored. In addition, even though they have lengthy tails, their wings are short and rounded as they fly.
Flying the Ferruginous or Light Morph hawk, you’ll notice the rusty feathers on its legs, a white tail, and a white belly. Rarer The outer wing panels of dark Morph hawks are white because their feather bases are deep rufous chocolate color. They’re around the size of a crow or a gosling.
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In woodlands, scrubland, brush, grassland, and generally open areas, this hawk species can be found. Between May and October, you might catch a glimpse of one in Minnesota, despite how rare it is. Insects, snakes, and birds of various sizes make up the bulk of their diet, but they also eat tiny to medium-sized mammals such as young jackrabbits, squirrels, gophers, rats, and mice.
The Rough-Legged hawk, a medium-sized bird of prey, has a distinctive and gorgeous feather pattern. With dark feathers on their bellies, they have light tails. Feather-covered feet help these birds stay warm in chilly environments, as their name suggests. From September to June is the optimum season for spotting them, as they breed and reside in the Arctic tundra during the summer.
Grasslands and cliffsides are ideal places to observe daily life during these months. They build their cliffside nests out of wood and animal bones. A large portion of their diet is made up of tiny rodents, such as mice, shrews, or voles.
The broad-winged hawk is the final hawk on our list of Minnesota hawks. Throughout the state, it is restricted to breeding. Near Lake Superior’s shoreline and forested areas are the most likely places to find one.
The reddish-brown body of this hawk contrasts with the white underside. Listen for its high-pitched whistle when hiking in the woods during the summer months to have an increased possibility of seeing one.
While perched on a high tree branch, broad-winged hawks glide to capture their prey. Its main sources of food include rodents, insects, and frogs.