Wisconsin Hunter Safety Course

 

Nongame Raptors

There are many game specues that are protected by law and cannot be hunted. They are known as nongame species, and many of them are on the endangered species list. Raptors are predatory birds such as eagles, hawks and owls. All these birds are protected under federal law.

Raptors in Wisconsin

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
  • Length is between 28 and 38 inches.
  • Wingspan is up to 81 inches.
  • Has a large hooked bill. 
  • Breeds in forests near a water body, spends winter in coastal areas or near unfrozen rivers.
 

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
  • One of the largest birds of prey in North America.
  • Length up to 37 inches
  • Wingspan up to 87 inches.
  • Generally found in open country. Plentiful in the West, rare in the Eastern US.
 

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk
  • The most common hawk in North America.
  • Length is 22 inches (max).
  • Wingspan is up to 53 inches.
  • Found in a variety of habitats including desert, grasslands, fields, pastures, woodland, and rainforest in Mexico.
 
 

Osprey

Osprey
  • Length is about 23 inches.
  • Wingspan approx. 71 inches.
  • Diet is almost exclusively fish.
  • Found mostly near ponds, desert lagoons, lakes, and tropical coasts. Spends winter around larger water bodies where fish are plentiful.
 

American Kestrel

American Kestrel
  • Length approx. 13 inches.
  • Wingspan up to 24 inches.
  • Habitat is mostly open areas such as meadows, grasslands, deserts, parks and fields. Also found in urban areas.
  • Found year-round in most of the US, with the excaption of northern-most states.
 

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture
  • Length is 32 inches.
  • Wingspan up to 71 inches.
  • Feeds on cariron.
  • Found mostly in rangeland and mixed farmland/forest areas.
 
 

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier
  • Up to 20 inches in length.
  • Wingspan up tp 47 inches.
  • One of the rare raptor species where males look noticeably different from the females.
  • Primarily feeds on small mammals, however has been known to take rabbits and ducks on occasion.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks.

 

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
  • A smaller raptor, length about 18 inches.
  • Hunts small birds in flight by swooping down from high above.
  • In the East, they are seldom found in urban areas and away from the coastline.
  • It is more common in the West in mountainous regions. Also found throughout South America.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks.

 

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl
  • Medium-sized owl generally found in open grasslands, meadows, woodland, etc.
  • Most active at dusk and dawn, hunts mainly for small mammals and birds in open areas.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks.

 
 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl
  • A medium-sized owl found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Female tends to be a little more spotted than the male.
  • Listed as an endangered species in some states, specifically around the mid-West.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks.

 

Barred Owl

Barred Owl
  • Large-sized owl residing mostly in forests and woodlands, mainly in the Eastern United States and Canada.
  • Known to occupy the same areas as the Great Horned Owl, however will avoid the territory where the Great Horned resides.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks.

 

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
  • One of the more common owls in North America.
  • Very easily recognized by prominent ear tufts.
  • Known to hunt large prey, even other owls. Generally hunts at night.
  • Found mostly in outer woodlands and agricultural fields, but also in forests, deserts and urban environments.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks.

 
 

Screech Owl

E. Screech Owl
  • Two sub-species - the western screech owl and the eastern screech owl (shown).
  • A relatively common small owl, found throughout the United States in any habitat that contains trees.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks.

 

 
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