Nest Site Characteristics of Red-tailed Hawks in New York City

Authors: Karolina Elzbieta Janik*, NYC Parks' Wildlife Unit, Katie Leung, NYC Parks' Wildlife Unit
Topics: Animal Geographies, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Environmental Science
Keywords: species distribution modeling, habitat suitability, red-tailed hawk, urban ecology, urban wildlife, birds of prey
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download


Little is known about the nesting behaviors of red-tailed hawks in urban environments. For this project, we sought to gather more information about the factors that impact nest site selection for red-tailed hawks in New York City. We gathered active nest site locations throughout New York City during the spring 2017 raptor breeding season, and monitored nest site activity and productivity. Using Maxent software for modeling species distribution, we also developed a presence-only model of red-tailed hawk nesting sites to generate a probability distribution surface indicating high and low predicted probability of suitable nest site locations. We modeled nest locations using six predictor variables, including distance from NYC Parks’ property, distance from buildings in the top fifth of the height distribution in New York City, distance from major roads, land cover, edge density, and land cover entropy. We found that distance from NYC Parks’ property was the most effective variable for predicting nest site location among red-tailed hawks.

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