Where Do Canadian Ferruginous Hawks Winter?

14 February 2017
Adult male Ferruginous Hawk wearing a transmitter. Photo by Jesse Watson Adult male Ferruginous Hawk wearing a transmitter. Photo by Jesse Watson

Blog by Jesse Watson

In early October we blogged about the Ferruginous Hawk project one of our biologists has been involved with in southern Canada.  At that time, we posted a map showing where Ferruginous Hawks tracked from their breeding ranges in Alberta and Saskatchewan were located along their fall migration paths.  Fast forward 4 months and we have a much better picture as to where these hawks have spent their winters and how they got there.  Many of the Canadian breeding Ferruginous Hawks tend to winter in the region between northern Texas and southern Kansas but some winter in New Mexico, Nebraska, and a few other states.  Of note are the hawks wintering in Mexico, California, and Idaho.  Although it is widely known Ferruginous Hawks winter in Mexico, only a few from this study have moved so far south. Similarly, only one of the tracked hawks has crossed the Rocky Mountains and wintered in California.  Finally, the hawk wintering in Idaho is the first in this study to do so and is also the most northern wintering Ferruginous Hawk from the study.  As spring approaches keep your eyes to the skies for migrating raptors and maybe if you’re lucky you’ll spot a Ferruginous Hawk headed north!

In June 2016, Jesse Watson, HWI’s Research Biologist and current University of Alberta student, led a team of researchers in capturing and attaching satellite transmitters on 5 breeding adult male Ferruginous Hawks in western Canada as part of an ongoing research effort.

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