Swainson’s Hawk

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    Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni

    The Swainson’s hawk is common sight across the Great Plains and can be found in open ranging environments such as prairies and deserts. During the winter months, they fly south for Argentine wintering grounds. It’s one of the farthest migrations of any North American raptor and they often travel in huge flocks of hundreds or thousands - the flocks are called kettles.

    Interestingly when not providing for young, the Swainson’s hawk exclusively prey upon flighted insects, such as moths, grasshoppers and dragonflies - typically catching prey while in flight. During breeding season adults are very opportunistic, eating a wide variety of small mammals and even other birds. In an area close to Alberta, a significant percentage of the Swainson’s hawk’s diet consisted of burrowing owls.

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