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Interesting Birds of Montana: Broad-Winged Hawk

I feel fortunate and awed, having just seen a broad-winged hawk less than a half-block from my home a few minutes ago. These are really beautiful birds, but they aren’t common right in town.

Broad-winged hawks (Buteo platypterus) are small hawks, usually less than a foot and a half in length. The one that I saw was probably around 12 inches long. They are dark brown on the back and lighter on the belly, with dark barring. The tail is also barred.

This hawk has a big range, from Canada to southern Brazil, and they don’t migrate. This means that they are a year-round nesting bird in Montana and they favor forests. They typically eat large insects, frogs, snakes, lizards, and small rodents such as mice. They also sometimes take small birds.

Broad-winged hawks usually rear 1-4 young, breeding from April to August and they reach maturity at 2 years. 

This is easily one of my favorites of the small hawks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one up in the mountains, but I feel positively thrilled to have seen one so close to home. Wouldn’t you feel the same way?

  • Have you ever seen a hawk like this?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Possibly
  • How would you feel if you saw one near your home?

    • Thrilled
    • Thankful
    • I don’t care
    • Astonished

What do you think?

12 points
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Written by Rex Trulove

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10 Comments

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  1. Looks like a very majestic bird, I would love to see one, So far I have seen only small birds here but one day looking out my window I did see a large bird with wings spread gliding in the sky but I could not tell what it was,

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