Why Do Hawks Circle in the Sky?

by OBDK on July 11, 2022

You’ve probably noticed a hawk circling in the sky while you’ve been outside at least once...

Do you know what’s happening when they do that? 
Many people will assume it means that they’re hunting for prey. That’s one correct answer, the other is that they’re riding a thermal.1 We mentioned briefly in our email about how birds fly that birds can soar and glide on thermals, which helps them conserve energy while they’re in the air. 
Thermals are columns of warm air that rise upward as the air is warmed by the sun. Birds like hawks can use these thermals to aid their migration and their hunt for prey because it allows them to not use as much energy.2
When you see a hawk circle, it could be that they’re making sure they stay within the thermal so they can continue to soar in the air.2
So, it’s not always about hunting, but making sure they stay within the thermal. 

Hawks are considered birds of prey – do you know the difference between a bird of prey and a raptor? Find out!
  1. https://birdwatchingpro.com/why-do-hawks-circle/
  2. https://www.birdnote.org/listen/shows/soaring-redtails

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