Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons in West Virginia

West Virginia’s varied landscape includes forests, mountains, valleys, streams, rivers, and meadows. No wonder it supports a range of hawks, eagles, and falcons. The American goshawk, at home in its woodlands, indicates habitat health. City and cliff-dwelling peregrine falcons and the sharp-shinned hawks living in the forests exemplify their adaptation to the state’s diverse environments.

Hawks Eagles and Falcons in West Virginia (WV)

List of Different Types of Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons in West Virginia


There are two types of eagles native to the Mountain State.

  • Bald Eagle
  • Golden Eagle

Bald eagles build nests in West Virginia from December to February. Egg laying typically starts in late January or February, with 2-3 eggs incubating for about 35 days. The eagles are exciting to watch and form a critical ecosystem component. They act as indicators of a healthy river environment.


  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • American Goshawk
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Rough-legged Hawk
  • Swainson’s Hawk (Accidental)

The large red-tailed hawks are the most common in the state. Their population increases even more in the winter when birds that have spent their summer in Canada come down to the US to join them.


Peregrine falcons are migratory in West Virginia and can be seen in the state annually. They are not very common in the state, though.


  • Osprey


  • Northern Harrier

The first bald eagle nest in the state was discovered along the South Branch of the Potomac River in 1981. Bird enthusiasts can now visit Brooks Island and New River Gorge in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve to view their nests. The bridges over the Monongahela River are popular with birders to watch nesting peregrine falcons.

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