Hawks In New York with Pictures

Hawks in New York are a remarkable sight to behold. From the majestic Red-tailed Hawk, soaring gracefully above city parks, to the more common Cooper’s Hawk nestled in backyards across the boroughs of NYC; these birds have made their home amidst one of the busiest cities in the world. But how did hawks come to be so prevalent in an urban area? In this article we will explore how different species of hawks came to inhabit New York and why they remain here today.

The story begins thousands of years ago when Native Americans first inhabited Manhattan Island and began to shape its landscape through farming and hunting practices. As forests were cleared away for agricultural use, hawks saw an opportunity to establish themselves as top predators within this new environment. With plenty of rodents around from nearby farms, hawk populations began to slowly grow throughout what is now known as New York City.

Today, there are many different species of hawks that call NYC home, including some endangered ones like the Peregrine Falcon. Thanks to conservation efforts by local organizations such as The Urban Park Rangers, these amazing raptors can continue to thrive despite living amongst millions of people every day!

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-Tailed Hawk

The majestic Red-Tailed Hawk glides through the air over New York, a regal symbol of the city’s skyline. Its crimson tail feathers can be seen in many parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as they soar high above buildings, trees and parks. Red-tailed Hawks are one of the most common species of hawks found across North America. They have dark brown bodies with distinctive reddish tails and yellow legs. The females tend to be larger than males, with wingspans reaching up to five feet across when fully mature.

Red-tailed Hawk range map

Red Shouldered Hawks also inhabit New York City but not as commonly as their red tailed siblings.

Red-Shouldered Hawk1
Red Shouldered Hawk

These birds typically prefer wooded areas or wetlands where prey is abundant and nesting sites are available for them to raise young. Their coloring differs from that of the Red Tailed Hawk, sporting more chestnut tones on their backs instead of all black like the other species. Despite being slightly smaller in size compared to Red Tailed Hawks, these birds possess sharp talons used to capture small mammals such as squirrels and mice before flying away with them in their claws. With keen eyesight and stealthy hunting skills, they are able to survive in urban settings while still maintaining an impressive population size throughout the city.

As we transition into discussing Cooper’s Hawk next, it will become apparent why this bird has adapted so well despite its rarity in New York City.

Cooper’S Hawk

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’S Hawk

Moving onto the next bird of prey commonly found in New York, the Cooper’s Hawk is a large and powerful hawk. It has short rounded wings with long tails that help it maneuver through dense forests. The head appears small compared to its body size but can be identified easily due to its dark cap and bright red eyes. These hawks are often seen swooping down from high perches looking for their favorite food, which is mostly smaller birds like sparrows or doves. They also eat rodents, reptiles, and insects when they are available.

Cooper's Hawk range map

Cooper’s Hawks usually nest within wooded areas and will use man-made structures such as telephone poles or buildings if necessary. Their nesting season begins in late March and eggs start hatching by May. While these hawks are common throughout North America, they have become increasingly more abundant in recent years due to conservation efforts. When comparing them to other raptors found in New York such as Northern Harrier or Northern Goshawk, Cooper’s Hawks tend to stay closer to urban environments rather than venture off into rural ones.

This makes them well adapted to human activity around cities where their populations continue to thrive despite potential threats from predators or habitat destruction. With this adaptation comes an increased risk of humans interacting with them more frequently so it is important that people understand how best to respect these birds while still enjoying their presence in our area.

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier

Irony sets the tone for this section as we explore one of New York’s majestic hawks, the Northern Harrier. It may be surprising to learn that these birds are commonly seen in many areas of the city and surrounding suburbs. Here is what makes them unique:

  • They have a scientific name of Circus hudsonius
  • Their wingspan can reach up to 50 inches
  • The males are gray with white patches on their back and tail
  • Females have brown backs and tails with buff colored chests
Northern Harrier range map

The Northern Harriers share their habitats with Rough Legged Hawks, but they prefer open fields or meadows instead of woodlands like their counterparts. These birds build nests typically close to the ground and lay eggs from April through June. For food, they hunt small mammals like mice, voles, and lemmings; insects such as beetles and grasshoppers; reptiles such as lizards; amphibians like frogs; and even other birds! This variety ensures that there will always be something nearby for them to eat. With its large wingspan allowing it to soar gracefully throughout the cityscape, the Northern Harrier provides an awe inspiring sight against New York’s skyline. From here we transition into exploring another hawk species found in NYC – sharp shinned hawks.

Sharp Shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp Shinned Hawk

Moving on from the Northern Harrier, another notable hawk found in New York is the Sharp Shinned Hawk. This species of hawk is a small but powerful bird of prey that is usually seen flying through wooded areas hunting for its next meal. The scientific name for this hawk is Accipiter striatus and it can be identified by its unique shape which includes short, rounded wings and long tail feathers. It has bright eyes with yellow to orange-red irises and can also have dark brown or grey spots on its chest or belly depending on where they are located.

Sharp-shinned Hawk range map

Sharp shinned hawks feed mainly on other birds and rodents, making them important predators in maintaining balance in their ecosystem. They typically hunt by pursuing their prey at high speed through dense vegetation before snatching them up with their sharp talons. In addition to being good hunters, these hawks are also excellent flyers because of their short wingspan which enables them to maneuver quickly among trees and shrubs. As such, they make an exciting sight when spotted in flight!

This brings us to the red shouldered hawk – a large raptor native to North America that is often confused with the sharp shinned hawk due to similarities in size and coloration. Let’s explore further into this majestic bird’s features and behaviors next!

Red Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawk
Red Shouldered Hawk

The red shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) is a common species of hawk found in New York. It can be identified by its dark brown and white mottled upperparts, with barred wings and tail and reddish-orange shoulders. The scientific name for the red shouldered hawk comes from Latin, meaning “streaked” or “lined”, which are both accurate descriptions of this bird’s markings.

Red shouldered hawks prefer to live in mixed forests, where open woodlands provide plenty of perching sites and prey availability. They hunt rodents, amphibians, reptiles, insects, birds, fish and planarians using their powerful talons to capture their food. Red shouldered hawks will also scavenge carrion when available. During mating season they soar high above the treetops before performing breathtaking dives during courting displays.

Red-shouldered Hawk range map

These majestic creatures have been part of New York City since long before it was even a city; however due to urbanization their numbers are now declining across much of the northeast United States. With appropriate conservation efforts these captivating birds could once again thrive in our cities and towns throughout the region. Moving forward, it will be important to continue monitoring population trends as well as habitat quality so that we can ensure healthy populations of red shouldered hawks in New York for years to come. To learn more about how you can contribute to conserving these impressive raptors transition into discussing broad winged hawk…

Broad Winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk
Broad Winged Hawk

Whereas the Red Shouldered Hawk is a small, colorful raptor of the forest canopy, its counterpart species in New York City—the Broad Winged Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)—is larger and more powerful. This magnificent hawk is one of the most iconic birds of prey to be seen flying through Manhattan’s skies.

Scientific NameButeo jamaicensis
Average Wingspan40 inches
Weight1 – 2 lbs
Plumage VariationLight brown

An unmistakable silhouette, these hawks are characterized by their broad wings with black wing tips that can span up to forty inches across when fully extended. They usually weigh between one and two pounds and have light brown plumage on their upperparts which molt into red-brown color during autumn migration. As they soar high above the city streets, it’s clear why this species is so common in urban areas like New York City.

Broad-winged Hawk range map

From Central Park to Harlem River Drive, seeing Broad Winged Hawks soaring gracefully through air currents has become an everyday phenomenon for many residents here. Thus, despite its lack of vibrant colors or unique calls, this majestic bird often brings joy as people spot them throughout the city each day. Ready to take flight towards cooler climates northward, these hawks will fly until they reach their breeding grounds where they will raise their young before returning once again next season. With such an impressive presence in NYC skylines, the Broad Winged Hawk serves as a reminder of nature’s beauty even within an urban landscape.

Moving onto another large hawk found in NYC—the Northern Goshawk—we explore yet another fascinating species that lives among us all year round.

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk
Northern Goshawk

The Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is one of the few species of hawks found in New York City. This large raptor has a scientific name derived from Latin, meaning “noble hawk” due to its strong and powerful hunting capabilities. It can be found primarily in wooded areas with adjacent open land.

They usually migrate south during colder months but will stay near the Arctic tundra if there are adequate food sources available. The Northern Goshawk hunts mostly smaller birds as well as small mammals like rodents. They also have incredible eyesight which helps them spot prey quickly while they soar through the sky.

Northern Goshawk range map

In order for these raptors to thrive, it is important that their natural habitats remain undisturbed by human activity or urbanization. To ensure their continued survival, conservation efforts should be implemented in areas where the Northern Goshawks live and breed. With proper protection, we can make sure these majestic creatures continue to call New York home for many years to come. Moving on, sharp-shinned hawks provide another example of avian life thriving within city limits…

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-Shinned Hawk

After discussing the Northern Goshawk, let’s take a deeper look at another species of hawk found in New York; the Sharp-shinned Hawk. This small but mighty raptor is often likened to an aerial acrobat as it navigates through its home turf with ease and grace.

The Sharp-shinned Hawk has adapted well to the urban landscape of cities such as New York City and can be seen hunting for prey among city skyscrapers like a modern day Robin Hood. These birds are most easily identified by their proportionally long tail, which helps them balance and maneuver quickly while they hunt. They prefer open woodlands that provide plenty of cover where they can hide from predators, although they also feed on rodents and other small mammals near human dwellings or garbage piles.

Sharp-shinned Hawk range map

Unlike some other hawks commonly found in the area – such as Northern Harriers or Red Shouldered Hawks – these sharp-shinned hunters tend to keep to themselves when not actively pursuing food sources. While they may seem solitary creatures, Sharp-shinned Hawks will occasionally form pairs during breeding season, making them more social than one might think! With this being said, we now turn our attention back to the Northern Goshawk…

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk
Northern Goshawk

The Northern Goshawk is a raptor that has been spotted in and around New York City. It is one of the most impressive birds of prey to be seen, with its long legs and powerful wingspan.

Here are three reasons why you should pay attention to this amazing bird:

  1. The Northern Goshawk Scientific name (Accipiter gentilis) tells us it belongs to a family of hawks known for their intelligence and skillful hunting techniques.
  2. Despite being originally from northern parts of North America, some individuals will migrate south during the winter months, which makes New York City an ideal spot for them!
  3. They can often be found perched high up in trees or soaring through the sky – so keep your eyes peeled if you’re lucky enough to live near Central Park or Prospect Park!
Northern Goshawk range map

Their presence is both awe-inspiring and humbling; they remind us of the natural wonders that still exist within our bustling city limits. Moving on, let’s take a look at another species of hawk found in NYC: the rough-legged hawk.

Rough-Legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-Legged Hawk

Moving from the northern goshawk, we now turn our attention to another raptor found in New York: the rough-legged hawk. This species is also known by its scientific name of Buteo lagopus and is a member of the family Accipitridae. It typically resides within open habitats such as grasslands or tundra but may be seen during migration throughout all areas of New York state.

Rough-legged Hawk range map

The rough-legged buzzard has distinctive features that help separate it from other hawks. These include dark brown upper parts with lighter patches on the wings and pale underparts marked heavily by streaks or spots. Furthermore, this species has long legs which are feathered right down to its feet and a fairly short tail for its size. As far as behavior goes, these birds can often be observed soaring slowly over their habitat while searching for prey items below them.

In terms of diet, rough-leggeds feed primarily on small mammals like voles, lemmings and shrews which they hunt both from midair dives and from perches near ground level. They have even been reported taking ducks and grouse at times when food sources become scarce due to extreme weather conditions or seasonal fluctuations in populations of prey animals. All things considered, these raptors are highly adaptable predators that do well in many different situations provided there is enough food available to sustain them year round. With this in mind, let’s move onto ospreys next.



As the sun crests over New York City, a majestic Osprey soars through the sky. Its wingspan flapping gracefully in the air above its head as it dips and dives around the buildings below. This species of hawk, known by its scientific name “Pandion haliaetus”, is often seen hovering near bodies of water looking for fish to eat. It is easily identified by its distinctive white underside with dark brown patches scattered across its body.

Osprey range map

Other hawks that make their home in NYC include Sharp-shinned Hawks (Accipiter striatus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) and Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis).

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk1
Red-tailed Hawk

All three have unique characteristics that help them stand out from one another such as size, coloring and behavior. The Sharp-shinned Hawk is small but agile while the Northern Harrier has long feathers on its wings which give it an elegant look when flying. Lastly, the Red-tailed Hawk can be recognized by its distinct reddish tail feathers and larger body size compared to other hawks in New York City.

The variety of hawks in New York City provides a beautiful display of nature’s beauty right at our fingertips. From ospreys soaring through the skies to red-tailed hawks perched atop streetlights, each species offers something special for us to appreciate and enjoy. What kind of hawks live in New York State?

What Kind Of Hawks Live In New York State?

Moving from the previous section about Ospreys, it is important to note that there are several different kinds of hawks that inhabit New York State. Broad-winged Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks can be found in forests and fields across the state, while Cooper’s Hawk is a more common sight in suburban areas.

When observing these birds, one may notice various characteristics unique to each species. For example, Broad-winged Hawks have short tails with wide wingspans; meanwhile Red-shouldered Hawks tend to have longer tails with narrower wingspans. Additionally, Cooper’s Hawk has rounded wings on its body which makes it look more compact than other types of hawks when gliding through the air.

To sum up, there are three main types of hawks that live within New York State: Broad-winged Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks and Cooper’s Hawk. Each type of hawk displays distinct physical features and can generally be seen inhabiting different environments depending on their individual needs. With this knowledge firmly established we now turn our attention to whether or not hawks are common in NYC.

Are Hawks Common In Nyc?

Yes, hawks are common in New York City. Northern harriers and Cooper’s Hawks can be seen throughout the city, usually flying low to hunt for small mammals or birds. The scientific name of Cooper’s Hawk is Accipiter cooperii. They feed mainly on mourning doves, blue jays, and other smaller bird species. These beautiful creatures also inhabit Central Park and its surrounding areas like Prospect Park where they perch atop trees waiting to spot their next prey.

Overall, it is not uncommon to see both northern harriers and Cooper’s Hawks while visiting NYC parks or going about your daily routine. As graceful as they may be to watch, it is important to remember that these raptors play an integral role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem by controlling populations of some species which could otherwise become overpopulated if left unchecked.

How Do I Identify A Hawk?

Identifying hawks in New York City can be a challenging endeavor. Knowing the distinctive features of each species, however, makes it easier to spot them while they soar through the sky. To get started with hawk identification, here’s a 3×3 table that outlines some key features for three common types of hawks found in NYC:

Hawk SpeciesAverage Length (in)Color Variation
Northern Harriers18-19Dark brown head and body with white underparts
Cooper’s Hawks15-20Uniformly dark blue-gray upper parts; reddish bar on tail
Buteo jamaicensis17-21Brown back feathers; pale yellow breast

The first step is to identify which type of bird you are observing based on its size and plumage color. Once you have identified the hawk species, look out for other identifying characteristics such as wing shape or call notes. All of these details combined will help you accurately distinguish different species from one another. With practice, novice birders may soon become experts at recognizing hawks!

What Do Hawks Eat In New York City?

In New York City, hawks primarily consume small mammals. Common prey items include voles, mice and squirrels. Hawks will also sometimes feed on birds that are smaller than themselves, such as sparrows or pigeons. Northern Goshawks can even be seen hunting waterfowl in the city’s parks and preserves.

Hawks may also take advantage of bird-feeders if they find one near a perch spot. To help prevent this, it is best to place feeders away from trees or other structures where a hawk might situate itself for an easy meal. Additionally, consider avoiding food sources like suet or sunflower seeds which attract more birds and therefore increase the chances of attracting a hungry hawk looking for its next snack!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Typical Habitat Of Hawks In New York?

Hawks are a majestic species of bird that soar through the air with grace, representing freedom and strength. They have an impressive presence in many parts of the world. But what is their typical habitat in New York?

New York provides an ideal environment for hawks to thrive due to its diverse landscape, from dense forests and grasslands to urban areas. Hawks can be found perched atop trees or soaring high in the sky hunting for prey like small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. They nest in tall trees or cliffs where they feel safe away from predators such as cats and large birds of prey. As hawks fly south during winter season, some remain within the state while others migrate elsewhere – either way these powerful creatures will leave a lasting impression on those who witness them.

In order to protect this beautiful species, conservation efforts should focus on preserving habitats and preventing destruction caused by human activities so that future generations can continue to admire their natural beauty. With proper management strategies and public awareness campaigns, we may be able to ensure healthy populations of hawks in New York for years to come.

Are There Any Endangered Species Of Hawks In The State?

When talking about endangered species, one of the first animals that come to mind is hawks. But are there any species of hawks in danger in New York? To answer this question, we must look at what types of habitats exist for hawks in the state and how those ecosystems have been affected by human activity over time.

New York’s diverse geographies provide a range of habitats for different species of hawks. In the Adirondack Mountains, Red-tailed Hawks can be found living among coniferous forests and grasslands; while Northern Harriers prefer wet meadows, marshes and fields found along Long Island’s coastlines. The Great Lakes region also offers an ideal home for Bald Eagles who feed on fish caught from rivers and lakes. Unfortunately, many of these areas have seen drastic changes due to urbanization or pollution which has caused great concern for wildlife conservationists.

In order to protect vulnerable populations, environmentalists have implemented several initiatives such as habitat restoration projects and protection laws for certain species like Peregrine Falcons whose numbers had declined significantly in recent years due to their close proximity with humans near city centers. These efforts aim to ensure that hawk populations in New York remain healthy so they can continue playing important roles within the ecosystem.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Hawk?

Hawks, with their majestic and powerful wings, are one of nature’s most beloved creatures. But how long do they live? What is the average lifespan of a hawk?

On average, hawks can live between 10-15 years in the wild, depending on the species and environment. Some factors that may affect a hawk’s life expectancy include: access to food resources, weather conditions, predators and diseases. However, if provided with quality care by humans – such as veterinary checkups and diet management – some species of hawks have been known to reach over 20 years old!

When we consider the lifespans of hawks in the wild versus those kept in captivity, there are several important points to keep in mind:

  • Hawks living under human care will typically receive regular health checks from trained professionals which could help them lead longer lives.
  • Wild birds often lack access to adequate nutrition or medical attention when needed.
  • Captive hawks also don’t need to worry about environmental threats like inclement weather or predation.
  • The stress associated with being constantly watched by people or other animals may contribute to shorter lifespans for captive birds than those living freely.

It’s clear that while both environments offer advantages and disadvantages for these magnificent creatures, it is possible for them to live long healthy lives in either situation; however, providing an optimal habitat should always be taken into consideration when considering the well-being of any animal species.

How Do Hawks Hunt For Prey?

Hawks are impressive hunters, and their hunting methods vary depending on the species. Generally speaking, hawks will use a combination of speed and agility to capture their prey. They often swoop down from above or stalk them from cover, using surprise as an advantage. This allows them to make quick grabs with their talons before making off with their catch.

In addition to this ambush technique, hawks also employ strategies such as hovering in place while scanning for food below. When they spot something edible, they’ll dive quickly towards it, snatching it up with their sharp claws if successful. Hawks may also chase after small animals like rodents or birds by flying at high speeds along the ground until they can snatch them up in mid-air. Regardless of which method is used, these adaptations have enabled hawks to become some of the most proficient predators in nature.

Are There Any Specific Laws In Place To Protect Hawks In New York?

The majestic sight of a hawk soaring high above the landscape is one that many people have experienced. But what do we know about hawks in New York, and are there any laws protecting them? This question deserves to be explored further.

As an apex predator, hawks rely on their hunting skills for survival, but they face threats from human activities such as habitat destruction and poaching. To protect these magnificent creatures, various laws have been put in place throughout the United States. In New York specifically, the state legislature has enacted some specific regulations to ensure the safety of its resident raptors.

For example, it’s illegal to possess or transport wild hawks without a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It’s also forbidden to own or sell parts of dead birds unless authorized by DEC regulations – something that could potentially cause serious harm if not followed closely. Additionally, anyone found guilty of killing or injuring a hawk will likely face hefty fines and even criminal charges depending on the severity of the offense. These rules demonstrate how seriously New York takes protecting its delicate ecosystems and wildlife populations.

Overall then, while humans may not always appreciate our feathered friends’ presence around us, laws like those mentioned here show that our actions can still affect nature in meaningful ways—even when it comes to something as small as a single bird species living within our borders. Understanding this connection between conservation efforts and individual responsibility can help us create better policies for all wildlife in our area and beyond.


The majestic, mighty hawks of New York are an integral part of the state’s ecosystem. They have been present in this region for many generations and they continue to thrive despite their endangered status in some areas. Through careful management and conservation efforts, we can help ensure that these incredible creatures will remain a part of our lives for years to come.

Living up to 25 years on average, hawks use their keen eyesight and sharp talons to hunt for food. With a wingspan of 1-2 feet, they soar through the air with grace as they search for prey such as small mammals, lizards, insects, and other birds. Hawks also play an important role in keeping rodent populations under control due to their predation habits.

To protect these beautiful birds from destruction or harm, laws have been put into place by both federal and state governments which prohibit hunting them without proper permits or licenses. It is everyone’s responsibility to do their best to conserve these raptors so future generations can enjoy the sight of them soaring overhead and hear their distinct calls throughout New York’s skies.