Have you ever wondered what kind of birds are common in your area? Well, for this list, we’ll be talking about the eight of the most common hawks that are seen around one of the smallest states in America, Maryland.
This list may pique your interest in learning about what kind of hawks are flying through the area, where they reside, and why you may see them around your area so often. The hawks that will be discussed today are both intriguing to learn about, not only because of their looks but also because of how they differ.
To learn more about the most common hawks in Maryland, continue reading on, you ever
To first begin, let’s talk about the Red-Shouldered Hawk or the Buteo lineatus. This particular bird has a medium-sized tail and a large set of wings that are broad and round which highlight the medium size length of this bird’s body.
In addition to its length and color, this particular bird has dark and white wings that complement its wings and warm red tones that surround the breast of the bird. As the red-shouldered hawk ages, however, the whiter its feathers becomes at its wingtips.
This is truly a beauty to behold because, over time, these colors fade into each a gorgeous ombré of reddish-brown, to a pale white accent within its wings.
These hawks, however, are well-known for flying over large clusters of forests as well as remaining on trees and branches for their own convenience. In addition to these details, these hawks usually only hunt small animals such as amphibians, reptiles, and more as they search for food.
Typically, these birds are commonly found along near lakes and rivers because of where they hunt for food as well as where they are more commonly seen to migrate to as their most preferred habitat. Hence the reason why red-shouldered hawks are commonly seen in Maryland.
Known respectfully as “The Marsh Hawk”, the Northern Harrier Hawk is the next bird on the list to be another one of the most common birds in Maryland. It is also a medium-sized bird with long wings that are fairly broad in size. With a round tail, these birds are usually compared to an owl because of their resemblance to their face.
These hawks also have a bill that is hooked, which is perfect for the animals that they usually hunt for their daily meals.
As a quick detail, these birds differentiate in color between male and female. Male Northern Harriers are gray and white colors, with black highlights on their wings and tail. Females and babies, however, are usually brown and only have streaks of black on the tail.
The females also have white bellies and brown highlights underneath. Yet all the birds commonly have a white patch on their body in general.
Expert Tip: Northern Harriers almost always hunt for small animals, but truthfully seek out these animals by listening for their movements and sounds before attacking them by swooping down and snatching them from below.
These birds are also found in areas such as the Arctic tundra and large fields such as marshes and grasslands where they can find small mammals, migrate for the winter, and cover away from the snow.
Northern Harriers love open space, so much of what they and where they reside is in spaces where they have more space available.
Another well-known bird on the list, the Sharp-Shinned Hawk is one for the books. This breed of a bird has long tails, short, round wings, and a small body. With their small heads, their wings are a bit shorter than their bodies so usually, they struggle to keep their wings above their head. However, females are considerably larger than males.
As small as they are, the sharp-shinned hawks have blue-gray colors and red-orange tones. The babies, however, are usually mostly brown, with white streaks around the body, primarily on the breast. Yet, adults and babies alike have dark highlights on their tails.
Regardless of their colors and size of them, these hawks are skilled when it comes to hunting their prey. They swoop down and rush up when they have captured their food, seizing their opportunity when necessary. These hawks can be found on open fields and deep in the forests where they will reside happily without a problem.
The Northern Goshawk is a dark gray bird that has a rather large wingspan, a body that distinguishes itself from other hawks, and eyes that vary from hues of orange and red. Goshawks are well-known for having white stripes over their head and eye, which makes their distinction so clear from other species of birds.
However, these hawks are quite calming when it comes to preying on other mammals or flying around hawks that differ from them.
Northern Goshawks are stealthy, quick, and slow in their quest to achieve numerous tasks such as finding food for themselves. When trying to find prey, Goshawks tend to perch high in trees but will dive quickly to swoop below and grab the animals from underneath.
However, Goshaawks actually glide rather than fly at rapid speed, so their wings are essentially carrying them through the air.
In addition to their behaviors in the wild, Goshawks are naturally found in large, congested areas such as forests where they can perch high above the ground.
With this knowledge, it is no wonder why many of these hawks are found in Maryland as they are one of the most common places for Goshawks to be found in areas with high trees or crowded greenery.
Next up is the Red-tailed Hawk. This bird is extremely gorgeous and can be found in other areas besides North America such as Panama, the West Indies, up in the northern part of Canada, and even Alaska.
This bird has very large wings with an impressive wingspan, a short tail that fans out behind its body, and a rounded butt medium-sized body. Red-tailed Hawk females, shockingly, are typically mistaken for eagles because of how large they can get as adults.
And, as an added fact, Red-tailed Hawks are actually one of the largest hawks in North America even today.
To continue, this famous bird has a rich tone of brown above its wings, with blacks at the tips of its wings. Their bellies, as well as the feathers of their wings, are full of white fur and a few streaks of color. The tail, however, is a straight giveaway as to what kind of hawk you are looking at.
It is a bright shade of orange, with a mix of red and brown. The tail has such a high saturation of color compared to the wings of the hawk, that it has become a distinctive feature, hence the name.
Expert Tip: As a predator, this bird can be found in fields, atop telephone poles, on trees, and anywhere in a place where there are open spaces. This is because Red-tailed Hawks typically fly above the ground then slowly travel down and grab their prey with their feet stretched outwards similar to a falcon.
As we continue to finish this list, the next bird to be spoken about is the Cooper’s Hawk. As another medium-sized bird, the hawk has very large shoulders, a small but round and long tail, and wings that round out as well.
In addition to that, the adults of this particular species are seen as more blue-gray due to their maturity from a shade of brown as a baby, with reddish streaks traveling down the breasts of their underside. This color also gives them a similar look to the Sharp-shinned Hawks but, as the Cooper’s Hawk continues to mature, they gain distinguishing features.
Cooper’s Hawks are quite basic in terms of flight and exploration. They can be found deep within a forest, leafy fields, backyards, and simple places. While they prefer open areas, Cooper’s Hawks do not fly in the same pattern compared to the other Hawks that were mentioned beforehand.
This particular species of bird flies in what is referred to as a ‘flap-flap-glide’ pattern. This is because they do not flap continuously and they are able to attack quickly when they dive low to the ground and surprise their prey.
This is an effective method for their body type as well because they are a bit smaller than a few of the others birds that have been mentioned on this list.
Now we have arrived at the second to last bird on this list the Broad-Winged Hawk. Remember when it was said that the Cooper’s Hawk might be the smallest bird? This hawk might challenge that statement just a bit. The Broad-winged Hawk has small bodies, large heads, and a decent wingspan to fit its body.
Their tail is also relatively short, but to fit its rectangular-shaped body, this hawk has a tail that is also similar to a square shape, fitting the flow of its body as it continues to grow upward into a broad set of wings that expand perfectly around the body.
When you see a Broad-Winged Hawk, however, you will notice that they also have a reddish-brown pattern about them. Their undersides are also white, and black, with a mix of brown as well. Though pale from the bottom, underneath the wings, are shades of dark brown feathers.
As babies, these hawks are typically light brown and the tail is a bit narrower.
Because of their wings, the hunt for smaller animals is a bit of a breeze, no pun intended. As they soar through the air, these hawks whistle a call before swooping in to attack their prey. Typically, Broad-winged Hawks hunt for little small animals in forests canopies and across gaps.
They can also be found in large flocks as they soar through the air, across coasts, and mountain ridges.
And as our final bird, we have arrived at the Osprey. This bird is pretty common in Maryland, but as we continue to describe this particular bird, you may begin to notice them a little bit more than usual.
Expert Tip: Ospreys are large hawks, even larger than the Red-Tailed Hawk. They have narrow bodies, a very impressive wingspan even if it is also a bit narrower, and long legs.
Though this bird may seem a bit intimidating at first, they fly high above the air and mind their business.
Ospreys have a below brown and white aesthetic to the feathers, especially with a pale underside to their bellow and wings. However, Ospreys have a large dark patch at the wrist which is another distinguishing feature of theirs besides their ‘M’ shapes wings.
An Osprey’s head has a brow strip that crosses the eyes and a spikey mohawk with brown pigment at the ends as well. As babies, Osprey’s typically have white spots that lead to the back of their body and to the front of their breasts.
As predators, Osprey flies high in the air and circle around shallow water before diving with their feet first towards the prey that they are intending to capture usually it is fish. With this information, Osprey round found around bodies of water such as rivers, ponds, reservoirs, or dead trees and poles near water.
And since Maryland is near water, you can find Ospreys along the coastline of this state perched on a tree or flying through the air.
Now that we have covered eight of the most common birds in Maryland, which one have you seen gliding through the air? These birds all have many shared qualities but each differs in more than one way because of the kind of bird that they are and the type of habitat each hawk prefers.
These hawks are beautiful to gaze upon as these species of hawks are amazing to learn about. So, if you are ever in Maryland, native or not, take some time out of your day to look for these birds if you’re interested in birdwatching or embracing the world of nature.