Birds Of Prey In Maryland – Hawks, Owls, Falcons, And Eagles

With just slightly more than 9,700 square miles of land, Maryland is our ninth smallest state. Some big birds of prey may be found on the east coast of the United States, despite its small size. We’ll look at 20 birds of prey in Maryland, including hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons, in this article.

Some may be seen year-round in the state, while others are migrants that are only occasionally seen. We’ll discuss the species’ size, how to identify them, and where you might look for them.


Hawks, owls, falcons, and eagles are among the 20 raptors mentioned in this list from Maryland.



Length: 17.7-25.6 in  

Weight: 24.3-51.5 oz 

Wingspan: 44.9-52.4 in  

The most prevalent hawk in all of North America, the Red-tailed Hawk is a big hawk. They may often be observed soaring overhead or perched high up on telephone poles and trees throughout the year, and their range extends across the whole state of Maryland. They aren’t as frequent as a Sharp-shinned or Copper’s Hawk in backyards because they feed mostly on small to medium-sized mammals.


Length: 18.5-20.5 in

Weight: 25.2-49.4 oz 

Wingspan: 52.0-54.3 in

In Maryland, the non-breeding Rough-legged Hawk population is widespread. Anyplace in the United States is probably the best place to see one. It’s in the winter when it’s at its busiest. Each year, Rough-legged Hawks travel to Alaska and northern Canada’s Arctic regions to breed. Their feathered legs, which stretch all the way down to their toes, are an easy way to identify them. The Ferruginous Hawk, which is located further down this list of hawks in Arizona, is the only other species with this characteristic.


Length: 13.4-17.3 in

Weight: 9.3-19.8 oz

Wingspan: 31.9-39.4 in

In most of Maryland, the Broad-winged Hawk is a breeding species. Keep an eye out along roadways and in the woods throughout the spring, summer, and fall months if you’re in the area; this is when they’re most visible.

In the autumn, hundreds of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks depart South America on their way to their breeding grounds in North America. They are discovered in the eastern section of the United States once they arrive. However, it is not found in the western United States or much of Canada.


Length: 16.9-24.0 in

Weight: 17.1-27.3 oz

Wingspan: 37.0-43.7 in  

In Maryland, the Red-shouldered Hawk may be found across much of the eastern United States year-round. They’re most prevalent in the east of the Mississippi, but they may be found in California and down into Baja, Mexico. Little animals, other birds, reptiles and amphibians are the main foods for these animals.

Over the last 50 years, the range of Red-shouldered Hawks has grown in size. Wooded areas and forests are where Red-shouldered Hawks live and nest. The destruction of forested regions where they live and breed is the species’ greatest danger. The same nest is often reused by Red-shouldered Hawks year after year. Read more about the Red-shouldered Hawk here.


Length: 20.9-25.2 in

Weight: 22.3-48.1 oz

Wingspan: 40.5-46.1 in

In Maryland, Northern Goshawks are uncommon, although they do have a small range. Because they don’t live in populated areas, these hawks aren’t as common in the wild as other types of hawks.

When compared to Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks, the Northern Goshawk is the bigger of the two. The Old English term for “goose hawk,” which alludes to the fact that it feeds on other birds, gave this raptor its name. Their mostly gray color, orange or red eyes, and white stripes across their eyes that resemble eyebrows are all characteristics that may be used to identify them.


Length: 14.6-17.7 in

Weight: 7.8-24.0 oz

Wingspan: 24.4-35.4 in

Throughout the state of Maryland, Copper’s Hawks may be found year-round. The size difference is the primary distinction between Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, who appear to be extremely similar. The Cooper’s Hawk, like the Sharpie, is a predatory bird that can be a problem in backyards. Some advice on how to differentiate the two hawks may be seen in the video below.


Length: 9.4-13.4 in

Weight: 3.1-7.7 oz

Wingspan: 16.9-22.1 in

In most of Maryland, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is a non-breeding species. They may have a year-round population in western Maryland, according to experts. Backyard stalking and bird feeders are common targets for Sharp-shinned Hawks, often known as Sharpies, who eat almost 90% of their food. Remove your feeders for a few days and let the hawk move on before replacing them if you observe one in your yard.



In Maryland, the year-round presence of Barn Owls is obvious. The exquisite plumage and heart-shaped face of the Barn Owl makes them easily recognized. Barn Owls get their name from the fact that they nest in a variety of human-made structures, including barns. With 46 different sub-species across the globe, they are also one of the most widely distributed birds. The biggest of the barn owls is found in North America.

Nighttime hunting for small animals is common among barn owls, as it is with other owls. They’re recognized for swallowing everything in sight, bones and all. They will regurgitate “pellets” of what their bodies did not require for nourishment instead of digesting meals in the conventional manner via their digestive system.

The low-light vision and hearing of barn owls makes them exceptional nocturnal hunters, and anything known to be their prey is feared. They outperform any other creature that has ever been put to the test when it comes to hearing and catching their prey.


Length: 6.3-9.8 in

Weight: 4.3-8.6 oz

Wingspan: 18.9-24.0 in

The whole state of Maryland is home to the Eastern Screech-owl, who lives year-round. Various insects, rodents, and songbirds are eaten by these tiny owls. If you want to attract a mating pair, install a nest box in your yard for Eastern Screech-owls, who will readily take up residence. If you have a bird bath in your yard, they will also utilize it.

The female and young depend on the slightly smaller male to hunt and bring them food, whether they’re using a nesting box that you provide or a tree cavity that they’ve discovered. They’re more typically seen in suburban settings, although they prefer living near a water source.


Length: 18.1-24.8 in

Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz

Wingspan: 39.8-57.1 in

Throughout Maryland, the Great Horned Owl is a year-round resident, and it is one of the largest owls in the state. Their huge size, ear tufts, and golden eyes distinguish them immediately. They are deadly rivals with Red-tailed Hawks and are the only species known to kill and consume skunks on a regular basis.

Forests, swamps, deserts, tundras, tropical rainforests open fields, and even urban and suburban settings like cities and parks are all home to Great Horned Owls.


Length: 20.5-27.9 in

Weight: 56.4-104.1oz

Wingspan: 49.6-57.1 in

White plumage makes snowy owls exceedingly lovely, and if you are fortunate enough to see one, it will be a treat to observe. They’re rare in Maryland, but they only have a southernmost range that’s limited. To breed, snowy owls travel far north to Canada’s Arctic tundra and Northern Greenland.

If you see one, you’ll know it’s not another kind of owl because to their white feathers and rounded heads with no ear tufts, which makes them impossible to mistake for any other kind of owl. In my opinion, the most beautiful hawks of prey in Maryland are the snowy owls, which are not only the biggest but also


Length: 16.9-19.7 in

Weight: 16.6-37.0 oz

Wingspan: 39.0-43.3 in

Throughout Maryland, the Barred Owl may be found everywhere. They are often heard, and their call, which sounds like “Who cooks for you, Who cooks for you all?” is easily recognized. They are similar to other owls in that regard. If you go for a stroll through a mature forest during the day, you might get lucky and see one roosting. Barred Owls are normally sedentary and don’t travel much.

The Great Horned Owl is their number one predator. When a Great Horned Owl enters a Barred Owl’s territory, it will usually flee as soon as possible, although not always very far. None of the 155 Barred Owls tracked studied went beyond 6 miles from where they were initially banded.


Length: 13.8-15.8 in 

Weight: 7.8-15.3 oz

Wingspan: 35.4-39.4″

Each year, long-eared Owls migrate north to breed in Maryland, which has a non-breeding population. The extra long ears make them easy to spot, but they are well disguised and may be difficult to locate.

They are predators that consume small mammals and, on rare occasions, other birds. They are vicious and silent hunters. They swallow their prey entirety, like the Barn Owl, and spit out the unneeded portions in pebbles. The male Long-eared Owl’s cry may be heard from over a mile away.


Length: 13.4-16.9 in

Weight: 7.3-16.8 oz

Wingspan: 33.5-40.5 in

Maryland has a small non-breeding population of Short-eared Owls, with most of them only staying for part of the year. At dawn or dusk, they’re most often seen in open fields and grasslands.

When they migrate, they can fly long distances and have a wide distribution range in North America. From Mexico to Alaska’s northernmost point, and everywhere in between.


Length: 7.1-8.3 in

Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz

Wingspan: 16.5-18.9 in

In Maryland, non-breeding habitat for Northern Saw-whet Owls exists. The Saw-whet is not only Maryland’s tiniest owl, but also the country’s tiniest bird of prey!

These little owls get their moniker from the sound of their cry, which is similar to that of a saw being sharpened on a whetting stone. They are roughly the size of an American Robin. Birds prefer to live in mature woods near a water source, and they are typically quite reclusive.

During migration, they eat mostly mice, but will consume insects, songbirds, and even other little owls for variety. Because of their naturally elusive lifestyle, little is known about Northern Saw-whets’ migration and population.



Length:  8.7-12.2 in

Weight:  2.8-5.8 oz

Wingspan:  20.1-24.0 in

For a variety of reasons, the North American Kestrel stands out among all other birds of prey on this list. In Maryland and throughout North America, as well as the most frequent falcon throughout North America, the Kestrel is the tiniest and most gorgeous colorful avian of prey.

They may be seen perching on telephone poles and fence posts throughout the year in the state of Maryland. Although many kestrels reside in Maryland all year, migratory kestrels make the ideal time of year to observe one because they migrate or winter.

With their beautiful colors, American Kestrels are tiny yet vicious predators. Despite being predators, they are never the prey. Hawks and owls are just a few of the larger raptors on this list that will readily eat kestrels as a meal.


Length:  9.4-11.8 in

Weight:  5.6-8.5 oz

Wingspan: 20.9-26.8 in

Another little falcon, the North American Merlin, is only seen during migration or non-breeding in Maryland. As a result, the best time to see one is when it passes through the state during spring and fall. While merlins are similar in size to kestrels, there is still a notable size difference.

They mainly eat songbirds of similar size, but may also eat insects on rare occasions. They prefer to eat house sparrows and others of similar size. Merlins adopt discarded nests of other birds, such as hawks and crows, instead of constructing their own. Throughout the breeding season, these highly territorial birds are monogamous, but each season may bring new partners.


Length:  14.2-19.3 in

Weight:  18.7-56.4 oz

Wingspan: 39.4-43.3 in

The Peregrine is the next falcon I’d like to discuss. When peregrine Falcons dive for prey, they can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, making them the fastest animal on Earth. You’ll want to read this article if you’re interested in additional fascinating facts about Peregrine Falcons.

The Peregrine has a year-round range in some isolated areas near the coast, according to, but it has a migration range throughout most of the state of Maryland. Each year, they travel to Canada and Alaska’s arctic tundra regions to breed for a long distance.

Due to pesticides, the Peregrine Falcon was nearly wiped off of North America in the mid-twentieth century, but it has rebounded and is now recovering.



Length:  27.6-33.1 in

Weight:  105.8-216.1 oz

Wingspan: 72.8-86.6 in

In Maryland and throughout North America, Golden Eagles are one of the biggest birds of prey. They are most often seen in Maryland during the spring and fall, although some do migrate through. Medium-sized animals like rabbits, hares, and ground squirrels are the primary sources of food for them.

They’re the only other raptor on this list with feathers that extend all the way down their legs to their feet, aside from the Rough-legged Hawk. These strong eagles are more prevalent in the western half of North America, despite their widespread dispersion.


Length:  27.9-37.8 in

Weight:  105.8-222.2 oz

Wingspan: 80.3 in

This hawk, which has been the United States’ national emblem since 1782 and more, doesn’t need an introduction. In Maryland, the breeding range of Bald Eagles is mostly non-existent, with a few exceptions along the coast. Look for eagles around bodies of water and in Wildlife Refuges and National Parks during the winter months in Maryland.

Bald Eagles are roughly the same size as Golden Eagles, though they may be a little bigger. They are master predators who can capture their own victims, yet they typically choose to plunder meals from other species, such as Ospreys. The oldest known Bald Eagle, who was 38 years old at the time and survived being hit by a vehicle, died of natural causes.

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