Meet Our Resident Animals

Broad-winged Hawk

Meet Chirpy

Brought to Sharon Audubon Center: 2016

History: Chirpy came to our clinic for rehabilitation when he was a fledgling, having just left the nest. At this age he was still unable to fly, but must have fallen from his tree branch, where he landed in the road and was hit by a car. He suffered pelvic injuries and multiple fractures in his left wing. It took several months in rehabilitation before he could stand and eat on his own. While his pelvis fully healed, his wing sustained permanent damage in his elbow and wrist. The feathers look funny on his left wing because the feather follicles were also damaged and feathers grow in abnormally. He is unable to fly, which is why he lives with us at the Sharon Audubon Center.

Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)

Average Height: 13-17 inches 

Average Weight: ½ – 1 ¼ pound

Wingspan: 2 ½ - 3 ¼ feet 

Lifespan: 10-12 years in the wild

Description: Broad-winged Hawks are small hawks that display conspicuous black and white bands on their tails. They prefer the forest interior to more open habitats and form enormous groups (referred to as ‘kettles’) during migration, which can sometimes consist of tens of thousands of individuals.  

Call: Plaintive, high-pitched whistle that sounds like “kee-ee!” and lasts for several seconds. 

Range: Broad-winged Hawks breed throughout the eastern and midwestern United States, migrating in impressive numbers to South America in the fall. They are common throughout Connecticut and New York. 

Habitat: Broad-winged Hawks prefer to breed in large deciduous or mixed forests far away from humans. They common select territories close to forest openings and bodies of water. 

Diet: Broad-winged Hawks consume small mammals (mice, voles, chipmunks), amphibians, and insects, primarily. They select a perch from which to observe their prey before flying down and snatching it from the forest floor. 

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