Swainson's Hawk

Pat Kennedy

Latin name: Buteo swainsonii

In 1979–1980, high nesting densities of 3 species of hawks in the genus Buteo—Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis), and Swainson's Hawk (B. swainsoni)—were documented on the Zumwalt Prairie and surrounding agricultural areas in northeastern Oregon, USA. Unlike in other prairie remnants, land management on the Zumwalt Prairie was consistent over the past several decades; thus, it was predicted that territory occupancy of these 3 species would be stable. It was also predicted that territory occupancy would be positively related to local availability of nesting structures within territories.  In support of these predictions, territory occupancy of all 3 species has not changed over the study period of 25 years, which suggests that local range-management practices are not negatively affecting these taxa. Availability of woody species is changing throughout the west, and these changes may result in declines in Ferruginous Hawk occupancy and increases in Swainson's Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk occupancy in the future.

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