Do Hawks Hibernate?

In this article you’re going to discover if hawks hibernate

You will also discover if they migrate and where to

Do you ever wonder where hawks sleep?

That’s covered too!

So without babbling on

Let’s get straight into it!

(I share some interesting facts about hawks at the end of the article so do make sure you check it out!)

Do hawks Hibernate Or Migrate? 

Migration for survival

Migration is crucial for a birds’ survival and is the most vital part of their life cycle.

Since Hawks rely on hunting for birds, most birds migrate to escape the harsh weather due to insufficient food supply during the winter season.

Similarly, not all but most species of broad-winged hawks are migratory.

So they do migrate

Let’s find out which hawk species migrate

Migrant Species Of Hawks

Some species of the Hawks are considered actual migrants, such as:

  • Red-tailed Hawks
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Red-Shouldered Hawks
  • Cooper’s hawks
  • Sharp-shinned Hawks 

They would travel thousands of miles seeking out for more suitable accommodations. 

Migration patterns

Their migration pattern varies for different species seasonally around the year, depending on the climate of their territory.

Generally, Hawks migrate in the summer and autumn seasons and return back to their mating grounds in spring.

They like mild weather environments and migrate to escape the extremes seeking favorable living conditions.

Now, the question arises as to why hawks migrate.

Why Do Hawks Migrate?

Insufficient food supply

Being carnivorous, they depend on birds’ as thier prey and migrate to follow the best food sources.

They are more likely to be found in open planes, around the fields, and near the borders of water sources where they could easily find their prey. 

This is also the primary reason for their migration because most birds leave their territory to avoid the chilling winter bites

Other birds hibernate if they don’t migrate

Climate preferences

Hawks prefer living in areas with less congested trees and high spots to perch.

It becomes more challenging for them to survive during the winter season where it rains and snows!

So they migrate to the moderate climate locales.

In such a situation, it becomes harder for Hawks to find their prey, and they choose to migrate, discovering new prey sources miles away from their mating lands.

How Do Hawks Choose Their Destination?

Hawks are intelligent enough to ensure safe migration and find their way to the best place to find their food

Here’s 3 way hawks choose where to go

Travel Tactics

They do not hibernate in winter; instead, they choose to migrate.

They travel in the direction of the wind, avoiding the large bodies of water and storing enough fat before starting their journey. 

Early set-off perks

The further the place they want to go, the earlier they set off on their journey because the bird that arrive early could get the best first pick of mate, food and other survival necessities. 


Migrating in flocks is a standard commutative tool among different birds and animals.

Hawks also migrate in flocks which enhances safety and survival.

Where Do Hawks Sleep

Some hawk species are selective about their nesting.

They favour open areas along the borders of woodlands and cliffs, and of no surprise, they sometimes travel thousands of miles to find the best favourable climates for better living. 


Male and female hawks together build their nests before the mating season, and both cater their eggs alternatively for the whole month until they hatch.

They are pretty circumspect about the matter and choose rainforests, borders of woodlands, coastal locales and parks to live in milder climates. 


Hawk watchers report that they sleep early as the night falls, and perceiving the calm windless nights, they prefer sleeping on high perching spots to hide from hunters.

They prefer high and thick trunk trees with heavy leaves to sleep and seek shelter from frigid winters and aggressive winds. 

Do Hawks Migrate In The Winter?

Hibernation or migration?

Hawk watchers report disappearing Hawks during the winter season

They do not hibernate but migrate to southern areas for winter

They sometimes start their journey by the end of autumn and return back to their breeding grounds in the spring season.

Hawks love mildly warmer environment habitats and choose more expansive areas with high trees where they can perch and take higher flights easily, favouring preying.

Some Hawks species like red-tailed hawks, broad-winged hawks, and Cooper’s hawks choose to migrate to the north to escape the chilling snowy weather towards the south for warmer climates.

Those who live in milder temperatures do not migrate and stay put.

Their migration patterns vary from species to species.

They prefer moderate climates and migrate to escape the extremes of cold or hot weather. 

Wrapping Up

Hawks migrate in flocks to find more suitable accommodations for their survival.

They like living in milder and more expansive environments because they can’t bear extreme weather conditions. 

Hawks are wild hunters, and it is illegal to just go to a woodland, catch a Hawk and bring it home to raise it as a pet.

It can get you in trouble so do be aware of that

Expert falconers may still raise a Hawk as a pet; it requires special governmental certifications. 

Hawk watching demands a lot of time and precautions to handle their wild hunting instincts.

Daily free flight and self-hunting are crucial for Hawks which can be really hectic for you.

Confinement of the cage will kill the majestic flier and hunter of open skies, and you will end up with a stressed-out and miserable bird.

Interesting Facts About Hawks


One of the most intelligent prey birds with different species is found worldwide except for Antarctica.

They not only have incredible eyesight but have four types of colour receptors; they can even perceive ultraviolets and magnetic fields.

They are known for their amazing Ariel acrobatics and excellent hunting skills. 

Hawks are not easy to handle birds for everyone, and it’s illegal to adopt them as pets except for master falconers with special certifications.

They are carnivorous hunters, and domestication is against their wild instinct. 

Some of the Hawks species are known for their monogamy and live with one mating partner for their whole life.

Even if they migrate due to climate preferences, they do return to their mating and nesting lands perceiving better weather conditions.

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