Your Florida Backyard NSiS Home Page Your Florida Backyard Kites, Hawks, Eagles
Photographs on this page courtesy of SFWMD
bald eagle In 1782, the Bald Eagle was chosen as the national emblem, beating out the Wild Turkey by one vote. As a result of habitat loss and poisoning by pesticides and heavy metals, there were less than 3000 Bald Eagles in the continental U.S. in 1982. Thanks to conservation measures, the population is increasing. There are now more than 3000 Bald Eagles in Florida.
Eagles build huge nests in tall trees and often return to the same nest year after year. After breeding, in late May or June, most migrate north and return in August. Golden Eagles are occasional visitors to Florida in nonsummer months.
Northern Harriers, also called Marsh Hawks, inhabit wetlands and fields. They build nests on the ground or in thickets.
Cooper's Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks are accipiters. They are agile, woodland hawks that may hunt at bird feeders. Cooper's Hawks usually nest in tall deciduous trees.
The remaining hawks are buteos. They usually soar at high altitudes in search of prey.
Broad-winged Hawks inhabit wooded areas often near water. Red-shouldered Hawks inhabit swamps and woodlands. Nests are built in tall deciduous trees and often reused. After raising the young, they may use the nest as a feeding platform.
Red-tailed Hawks may be found in woodlands, open areas, and groves. They build nests in tall deciduous trees. Short-tailed Hawks nest in treetops in wooded areas near water and in cypress swamps.
Kites inhabit wooded areas and nest in tall trees, often pines and cypress.
The endangered Snail Kite, formerly known as the Everglades Kite, is found in local areas of central and south Florida. It must move around as it feeds almost exclusively on freshwater Apple Snails, which it hunts by flying low over the relatively shallow, clear water. As a result of draining the Everglades, altered water levels in Lake Okeechobee, and dredging the Kissimmee River Basin, plus the introduction of exotic aquatic plants, runoff from agricultural lands, and recreational use of wetlands, the Snail Kite's population in Florida had been reduced to 20 in 1964. Thanks to conservation efforts, recent counts place the number at almost 1000.
Both the Swallow-tailed Kite and the less common White-tailed Kite are sensitive to habitat changes, but little is known about either bird.

name area season diet/native food plants
Bald Eagle
NCSSpSuFW-Bfish*, birds, small mammals
Northern HarrierNCSSpSuFW-Bsmall mammals*, small reptiles & amphibians
Broad-winged HawkNC
small mammals*, birds, reptiles, insects
Cooper's HawkNC
birds*, small mammals
Red-shouldered HawkNCSSpSuFW-Bsmall mammals*, reptiles, amphibians, birds
Red-tailed HawkNCS
rodents*, reptiles, birds, insects
Sharp-shinned HawkNCSSpFWbirds*
Short-tailed HawkN
Mississippi KiteNSpSu-Blarge insects*, amphibians, lizards
Swallow-tailed KiteNCSSpSu-Blarge insects*, lizards, nestlings, fruit
N=north  C=central  S=south
Sp=spring  Su=summer  F=fall  W=winter
B=breeds in Florida during season(s) underlined  M=Migrant

[ Common Land Birds | Common Waterbirds | Species Index ]
Bird Menu
Your Florida BackyardBird MenuBook MenuButterfly MenuDisasters MenuGardening/Native Plants MenuPhoto GalleryWeather MenuWildlife MenuNS Menu

Copyright © 1997-2015  Marianne Cowley
All Rights Reserved