Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by Cindy
We normally associate Hawks with Rural areas, however hawks can be found almost anywhere. Hawks are not just birds of prey, they also play a crucial role in our Ecosystem. If you want to know more about Hawks In Ohio, read on...
What Do Hawks Eat, and How Many Are In Ohio? (Hawks In Ohio)
Hawks mainly hunt rabbits, rats, skunks and mice for food. The estimated population of Hawks in Ohio is around 10 million. Between 1-2 million of these Hawks are part of the annual migration where they enter the State in the fall and winter. The primary reason for this migration is due to the seasons and hunting for food.
Do Hawks in Ohio Hunt in The Day or Night?
Most people think that Hawks hunt at night, but this is not true. Hawks are diurnal animals meaning that they are active during the day, not after sunset. Hawks prefer to hunt during the day as they have got razor sharp vision, so daylight hours are preferable to them. A Hawks vision is up to 8 times sharper than a human's vision - hence the saying/simile to “watch (someone or something) like a Hawk”. Due to the way that Hawks rely on their vision, hunting at night is generally not much use to them. Some Hawks do prefer to hunt at dusk, as this is when their prey come out of their shelters.
What Are the 10 Species of Hawks In Ohio?
There are 10 species of Hawks that either make Ohio their home, or pass through when they migrate. The 10 species are:
- Broad-Winged Hawk
- Cooper’s Hawk
- Harris’s Hawk
- Northern Goshawk
- Northern Harrier
- Red-Shouldered Hawk
- Red-Tailed Hawk
- Rough-Legged Hawk
- Sharp-Shinned Hawk
- Swainson’s Hawk
Below we will go into a little more depth about these wonderful creatures.
Broad-Winged Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
Broad-Winged Hawks are gorgeous Hawks that call Ohio their home. They are a classified bird of prey and they have a body length of around 2 feet and 30 inches. This bird is quite lively when it comes to hunting and will take what it can find. They like to hunt for animals such as amphibians, lizards, snakes, insects, small animals and even small birds.
In Ohio, Broad-Winged Hawks are one of the most common birds within the State and can be seen in almost every corner! Even though these beauties are all over, it can be difficult to see them sometimes. This is due to their color and they can easily blend into their environment. These birds are also known for liking to keep a low profile and keep themselves to themselves. They have a brown and gray body, with a dark breast band and a long tail.
Cooper's Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
Cooper's Hawks are very pretty Hawks and they are one of the most populous Hawks in the state of Ohio.
Did you know? Even though there are 10 species of Hawks that are in Ohio, Coopers, Red-Tailed and Sharp-Shinned make up 98% of Ohio's Hawk population!
Coopers make up to around 1/7th of all birds in Ohio. Cooper's have very small wings and a small wing span. Coopers do have a very long tail and a white head. It is because of this that the Cooper's can stay quite well hidden from their predators whilst they are hunting for prey. It is the color of their body and wings that make it difficult for their predators to see them. Cooper's tend to be found in central and southern Ohio. Cooper's tend to eat rodents like mice and rats.
Harris Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
The Harris's Hawk is a lovely Hawk that is found in Ohio, but unfortunately it is also endangered. In the 1800s, the poor birds were hunted until extinction in Ohio. In 1978, a few Harris's were released in a wooded area near Columbus. Thankfully, this was a great success and their numbers have done nothing but rise ever since. It is estimated that there are now over 1,000 of these majestic birds in Ohio. These birds are also under a Federal protection order and this order was ratified in 1980.
Harris Hawks like to eat various animals such as lizards, frogs and other birds. They are also known for liking to have a go at large animals such as small deer and rabbits. Harris's are found throughout the United States and are large-bodied raptors. They have broad wings, small tails and long, sharp talons. These Hawks are mainly brown with white scalloping on the body and wings. The head and back have a rusty brown color and other parts are white. Harris's have two dark markings on the top of their head and a patch on its breast. They have piercing red eyes and a round head. They can have a wingspan of up to 2 feet.
Northern Goshawk (Hawks In Ohio)
The Northern Goshawk has dark brown feathers with a white chest and face. You can find the Northern Goshawk in the Appalachian Mountains. The Native Americans of Ohio called this bird the “Hawk that throws its voice”, as when they fly, their wings can create sound waves. This Hawk is extremely tiny and has been on Ohio's endangered list since 1967. The reason for this is due to loss of habitat over the last few decades.
The Northern Goshawk is very well known within the state of Ohio. It has distinctive markings on its face and it can be easily recognised when it is on the hunt. The eyes are very dark and its feathers are rusty brown with white edges. This particular bird does make Ohio its home all year round and is a migratory bird. The range of this bird is from Northern Canada to Central America. Whilst this type of bird can be seen on the ground now and again, they tend to relax in tall trees. The wingspan of this species is only 30 inches long.
A short video about Hawk Hunting:
Learn about hawk hunting from the experts at the Ohio School Of Falconry!
Northern Harrier (Hawks In Ohio)
The Northern Harrier is found in all parts of Ohio and lives in the state during the winter months. When the bird is not in Ohio, it spends the summers down in Mexico. This is a medium-sized Harrier. The Northern Harrier is endangered in Ohio and tends to stay in the Northern part of the state. The Northern Harrier is a type of hawk that lives in the Midwestern United States and can also be found in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana as well. This Hawk tends to have a reddish body and black wingtips. They have a dark brown back and white underparts.
Red-Shouldered Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
These guys just love living in Forests and Woodland! They are on the large size for Hawks, so they enjoy eating prey such as small mammals and other small birds. They can be found in all quarters of Ohio. These guys also like to chill out in quiet areas that have rotten wood and logs. The Red-Shouldered hawk is one of the most common hawks in North America. Unfortunately, it is currently listed as an endangered species. Whilst this bird does have a wide range across Ohio, this is a home bird and lives in Ohio all year round. It has a bright red chest and black wings.
Red-Tailed Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
The red-tailed hawk is a bird of prey that likes to live and relax in forests. These Hawks are not exclusive to North America, they can also be found in parts of Europe. They like to scavenge for food and they enjoy a wide range of different foods such as worms, rabbits, eggs, snakes, fish, lizards and frogs. The red-tailed hawk is the most commonly found Hawk in North America. These cheeky chaps are also known for being extremely versatile and being able to adapt to different situations.
Ohio is an ideal place for them to live as Ohio is host to an abundance of the red-tailed hawk diet. These birds tend to enjoy hunting on the prairies and grasslands. These birds are also very fast when they find their prey and the prey don't tend to have much of a chance of escaping. The red-tailed hawk can get to 20 inches long and can weigh a hefty 3 pounds. The bird's wings are black and they have white patches on their shoulders. Their head is black with white speckles.
Rough-Legged Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
Did you know that the Rough-Legged Hawks are the largest hawk species in Ohio?
They are found in the majority of the State. These guys like to hunt larger animals such as raccoons, rabbits and squirrels. These have even been known to take down deer. Rough-legged hawks prefer to live in and hunt in habitats like prairies and grasslands, and it has also been known that they will live near forests if there is an abundance of food available. They are large, brown hawks with white banding on their wings. They have a long pointy tail and they have orange beaks. Females have white spots on their wings whereas males have no spots. These hawks also have long legs, so it means that if they are on the floor, they are able to shift quickly if needed.
Sharp-Shinned Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
This bird of prey is found in Ohio and across North America. The Sharp-Shinned Hawk is a medium-sized hawk that is dark gray in color and has brown tints on its wings. They can also have white patches on their breast and belly. It is one of the most common hawks that can be found in Ohio and their diet consists of rodents and insects. They tend to be found in open areas and near areas where they can have access to water.
Swainson's Hawk (Hawks In Ohio)
Swainson’s Hawks are medium-sized hawks. These are found in all parts of Ohio and it is the one species of Hawk that can be seen in Ohio on a regular basis and all year round. They hunt other birds and small animals like rodents. Swainson hawks like to relax in forests and prairies. They are the lazier species of Hawks and prefer to live where the food is. Swainson’s Hawks can vary in color. They can be light brown or dark gray, with a long tail and slender wing that measure up to 50cm. They have small heads with brown eyes that are covered with feathers. Swainson’s hawks have also been known as “large sparrow hawks''.
What Kind Of Hawks In Ohio Have You Spotted?
Do you know of any that we haven't mentioned? We would LOVE to hear from you!
Did you know: Ohio is also home to many other animals and wildlife, such as Coyotes!
One of our favorite varieties of creatures to spot while out on our travels, is Frogs In Ohio. If like us, you are in awe of these amphibians, be sure to check our post all about them!
Do you like other types of amphibians, check out our post all about Salamanders In Ohio!