Manitoba Bird Bird Atlas: Species At Risk

Ferruginous Hawk

Early Breeding and Last Migration Dates

South: Regions 1 to 8 Central: Regions 9 to 12 North: Regions 13 and 14
Early Breeding Last Migration Late Breeding Early Breeding Last Migration Late Breeding Early Breeding Last Migration Late Breeding
Mar-21 Apr-16 Jul-21

Breeding Evidence

For nesting, Ferruginous Hawks require a raised area surrounded by prairies where they chase their preferred prey, the Richardson’s Ground-squirrel, which must be plentiful, and perhaps to a lesser extent the Thirteen-lined Ground-squirrel. Richardson’s Ground-squirrel prefers areas where over 30% of the land is cultivated and grass is less than 30 cm high. They are an area-sensitive species that requires large tracts of grassland.

They usually nest in isolated trees or shrubs from 3 to 15 meters above ground. The nests are large structures; they are re-used and over time are enlarged.

Wire baskets have been placed in suitable nesting sites and filled with sticks. These are used by three-quarters of the breeding pairs in Manitoba. In other parts of North America they will nest on the ground but that has not been reported in Manitoba.

Habitat

Breeding Evidence Map

Ferruginous Hawks prefer prairies and open, arid habitats dominated by grasses or sagebrush. They are not found where trees are abundant or where cultivation is extensive.

The breeding area is concentrated from Lyleton, Melita, Broomhill, the “Poverty Plains” east to Whitewater Lake. Occasionally, nests have been found in the area bounded by Lenore, Brandon, Glenboro, and Killarney. This species apparently disappeared from Manitoba for over half of the early 20th Century. Their numbers have been slowly building since the mid 1980s although the years of peak abundance appear to correspond to prolonged dry spells.

-from COSEWIC and The Birds of Manitoba (p. 140)