What falcons are in Indiana?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

In Indiana, there are several species of falcons, but they vary in terms of their abundance and distribution. Two species, the gyrfalcon and prairie falcon, are rarely seen in the state. These falcons are typically found in more northern regions and their presence in Indiana is quite uncommon.

On the other hand, merlins are known to migrate through the state on an annual basis. These small falcons are often observed during their migration, but they rarely breed in the northern part of Indiana. Merlins tend to prefer open habitats such as grasslands and prairies, and while they may pass through Indiana during their migration, they do not typically establish breeding populations in the state.

Moving on to the more common falcons in Indiana, we have the peregrine falcon and the American kestrel. Both of these species can be found nesting in the state. The peregrine falcon, known for its incredible speed and aerial hunting abilities, has made a remarkable recovery in recent years after being nearly extinct in the United States due to pesticide use. These falcons are now regularly seen nesting on tall buildings and bridges in urban areas of Indiana.

The American kestrel, also known as the sparrow hawk, is the smallest falcon species in North America. They are relatively common in Indiana and can be found nesting in a variety of habitats including open fields, farmland, and even suburban areas. The male kestrels have striking plumage with blue-gray wings and a rusty-red back, while the females are slightly duller in color. These falcons are often seen perched on fence posts or telephone wires, patiently scanning the ground for small prey.

While gyrfalcons and prairie falcons are rarely seen in Indiana, merlins migrate through the state but do not typically breed there. On the other hand, peregrine falcons and American kestrels are more commonly encountered and can be observed nesting in various habitats across Indiana.