What is the gray bird of prey in Maryland?

Answered by Michael Wilson

The gray bird of prey in Maryland is the Northern Goshawk. These raptors are fascinating creatures that can be found in various regions of North America, including Maryland. They are known for their impressive hunting skills and are often referred to as “goose hawks” due to their preference for preying on other birds.

One of the key features that help identify Northern Goshawks is their predominantly gray coloration. While they may exhibit some variation in color, ranging from light gray to dark gray, their overall appearance is mostly gray. This coloration serves as effective camouflage in their woodland habitats, allowing them to blend in with the trees and foliage as they search for prey.

In addition to their gray plumage, Northern Goshawks have distinct orange or red eyes. These vibrant eye colors are quite striking and can be observed even from a distance. They serve a practical purpose as well, providing excellent vision for spotting and tracking their prey.

Another distinguishing feature of Northern Goshawks is the white stripes over their eyes, which give the impression of eyebrows. These stripes are often referred to as “supercilium” and are more prominent in adult birds. The supercilium adds to the overall facial expression of the goshawk and helps give them a fierce and intense appearance.

It’s important to note that Northern Goshawks are highly skilled hunters and are known for their agility and speed in flight. They have powerful wings and sharp talons, which enable them to capture and subdue their prey effectively. Their diet primarily consists of other birds, including pigeons, ducks, and smaller raptors.

While the Northern Goshawk is commonly found in Maryland, spotting one can be a challenging task. They tend to inhabit dense forests and wooded areas, making it necessary to venture into these habitats to increase the chances of observing them. Patience and a keen eye are crucial when searching for these elusive birds.

The gray bird of prey in Maryland is the Northern Goshawk. Their mostly gray color, orange or red eyes, and distinctive white stripes over their eyes make them easily recognizable. These formidable raptors are skilled hunters, preying on other birds and displaying impressive agility in flight. However, observing them in the wild requires patience and a visit to their preferred woodland habitats.