Join us Dec 21st at 6:30 PM Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center N7725 Hwy 28 Horicon
Northern Hawk Owl: even the name is mysterious. Hawk or Owl? Northern Hawk Owls are a “true” owl in the family Strigidae, but they have many traits typically associated with hawks. Hawk owls are active during the day, hunt largely by sight instead of sound, lack silent flight, and are shaped more like forest hawks than other owls. Adding to their captivating and mysterious ways is the fact that hawk owls are one of the least studied birds in North America due to their remote range in the northern boreal forests. However, during certain winters, large numbers of hawk owls abandon their northern territories and invade southern Canada and the northern U.S. Little is known about how far individuals travel, whether when leaving their natal grounds for the first time or after they have established a winter territory. These unique behaviors and the lack of knowledge about the movements of hawk owls are just a few reasons why Hannah chose to study this species.
Her research has focused on using novel telemetry methods to see if we can, for the first time, get a glimpse inside the life of individual hawk owls by monitoring their winter movements and microhabitat preferences in northern Minnesota and southern Manitoba. This region is at the edge of the boreal forest and provides critical wintering habitat for hawk owls at the southern border of their range. Successful conservation of hawk owls will require understanding hawk owl habitat use and range during their full annual cycle, including survival in changing winter conditions.