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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Hawk-watching tips

Enraptured by raptors? Remember these tips for a great experience.

  • Keep binoculars handy. Red-tailed hawks often exhibit different behaviors during courting and nesting times.
  • Let them be. Avoid going near nests, especially during the early summer when hawks have eggs or hatchlings to care for. They will abandon their nests if they feel disturbed or harassed.
  • Call the experts. If you see a baby hawk falling out of its nest, contact your local wildlife authority, who will determine how best to help. Similarly, if you discover a sick or injured adult, don’t try to touch or feed it. Again, contact your local authorities.
  • Heads up! Hawks perch on tree limbs, telephone poles or buildings (such as on the Syracuse campus) to look for prey, which they swoop down on—sometimes over human heads!
  • Watch your outdoor pets. Hawks can carry off up to their own weight (about four pounds). Be watchful of cats or other small outdoor pets.


National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology