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Merlin Bird ID

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    Northern Hawk Owl Life History


    Habitat ForestsConiferous or mixed forests near open areas.Back to top


    Food MammalsMostly small mammals, especially voles. Also some birds, especially in winter.Back to top


    Nest Placement

    Nest Cavity

    Nest Description

    Nests in cavities, including old woodpecker nests, and hollow tops of broken tree trunks. No structure built.

    Nesting Facts
    Clutch Size:3-13 eggs
    Egg Description:White.
    Condition at Hatching:Helpless and covered in white down.
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    Behavior Aerial Dive (ground/talons)Hunts by day or night. Perches on prominent treetops, detecting prey by sight. Also has keen hearing, and can take prey completely concealed by snow.Back to top


    Conservation Low ConcernNorthern Hawk Owl populations appear to be stable and there is no immediate known conservation concern. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 120,000 with 22% living in the U.S. and 28% in Canada. The rate a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and not listed in the 2014 State of the Birds Report. Back to top


    Duncan, James R. and Patricia A. Duncan. 2014. Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

    Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

    North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

    Partners in Flight. 2017. Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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