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Swainsonʼs hawks breed in North America, from Canada to northern Mexico. Following the spring and summer breeding season, Swainsonʼs hawks migrate south to their winter breeding grounds. While most Swainsonʼs hawks migrate all the way to the Pampas region of Argentina, the Central Valley population is unique! The majority of our birds only migrate as far south as Mexico, although some continue south to Central and South America.

How far do they travel?

The Central Valley population of Swainsonʼs hawks can fly several thousand miles roundtrip in one year; some Great Basin Swainsonʼs hawks will fly more than 10,000 miles in one year!

How long does it take?

It takes several weeks for Central Valley Swainsonʼs hawks to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico


When do they arrive here?

Swainsonʼs hawks arrive in the Central Valley in mid-March


When do they leave?

After the young have left the nest, Swainsonʼs hawks gather in groups and leave California by
mid-October to fly south

What do they do here?

Swainsonʼs hawks nest here. They court, mate, and normally raise 1–3 chicks each summer


What do they do in the winter?

They spend the winters eating and being social. They take advantage of the warm, dry weather until they fly north again in the spring

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