Chaco is a forteen year old, male Swainson’s Hawk and one of our Educational Birds. Swainson’s Hawks weigh between one and one half to two pounds, with a wingspan of forty-eight inches and a length between seventeen and twenty-three inches.
Chaco was found as a fledgling outside of Great Falls, Montana in September of 2001. He has a congenitally deformed left humerus, which prevents his ability to fly, thus making him unreleasable.
Swainson’s Hawks are summer residents of grasslands and agricultural habitats in the western United States and Canada. They nest in trees and shrubs and lay two to three eggs in a fairly flimsy stick nest. The entire population is migratory and travels great distances to winter in South America- primarily Argentina.
Swainson’s Hawks prey on small mammals and occasionally on other birds.They also eat insects on a regular basis and have been deemed “the farmer’s friend” because of this proclivity.
Chaco’s name comes from a province in Argentina where these hawks are known to concentrate in the winter.