Locating Broad-winged Hawk Nesting Sites

by Jim Armbruster, Lead, Center for Field Research

This summer VINS will be focusing on locating Broad-winged Hawk (BWHA) nesting sites with the hopes to trap and band at least six of them with GPS trackers like we did with Ottuaquechee, a female BWHA. There is little known about BWHA’s and our efforts will help ornithologists to gain more knowledge about these small buteos and be able to determine any risk factors associated with the species.

A key indicator of BWHA’s is their broad white band on the bottom of their small tail and the black rim around their lighter colored wings. They also have a rusty colored breast and they are the second smallest hawk species in North America next to the Sharp Shinned Hawk. Another keynote for BWHA’s is their call that sounds like 2- to 4 high-pitched whistles (peeeurr, kee-eee, or peeoweee)- the first note being short and higher-pitched than the second

BWHA’s nests are usually nestled into the first main crotch or platform – about ¾ the way up a tree against the trunk. The nests are usually supported by 2-5 medium – large branches, and active nests will have greenery within them. Chicks typically hatch during the 2nd half of June. Nests vary between 30-54 centimeters wide.

Although BWHA’s are still migrating, there have been a few sightings in Vermont already and we strongly encourage folks to log their sightings into eBird with a brief description of what the bird looked like and where it was located.

If you spot a potential BWHA nest we strongly encourage you to contact us with any information along with photos that you may have to Jim Armbruster at jarmbruster@vinsweb.org.


  1. Sara Evangelos on April 17, 2024 at 11:03 pm

    We have a be pair of broad wings who have nested right near our house for the past few years. We saw one yesterday, in a tree next to our house.

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