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This animal is not on exhibit in the habitats. It is an Animal Ambassador and is used in public and school programs.
This hawk was found as chick and was raised by surrogate parents. While being raised, she imprinted on humans and become non-releasable. She came to CuriOdyssey in October 2007.
These hawks are named after British naturalist William Swainson. In the winter, Swainson’s eat mostly grasshoppers and other insects; sometimes called “locust hawk.”
Diet in the Wild
Grasshoppers, crickets, small mammals, and birds.
Diet at the Museum
Mice, rats, quail, rabbit, chicks.
In the Wild: 8-10 years average, although oldest on record was 24 years.
In Captivity: 20-30 years.
Open grasslands, prairies, farmlands, and deserts.
Western North America, in the Great Plains and other arid regions, north to interior Alaska and south to northern Mexico, migrates to Argentina in the winter.
On California’s list of threatened species. Loss of nesting and foraging habitats has reduced population in California. Listed as a Federal Species of Concern, and are protected under the Migratory Bird Act.
Pesticides used to control insects heavily affect the population, since Swainson’s eat so many insects. It is estimated that 5-10% of the population die yearly of pesticide poisoning from eating locusts in Argentina.
DDT was a contributing factor to the decline of the Swainson’s hawk population; DDT consumed by the hawks causes the eggshells to be extremely thin and crack easily.