Discover 4 Meanings and Signs of Seeing a Hawk

A Cooper's Hawk in Action
© J. S. Fisher/

Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: September 1, 2023

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Have you recently noticed that hawks have been more present in your life? Maybe you’ve seen one in flight or there’s a recurring theme in the books you’re reading, shows you’re watching, or even conversations you’re having. Discover four meanings and signs of seeing a hawk and learn what this powerful raptor is trying to tell you.

What is a Hawk?

Hawks are birds of prey. They are distinguished by their long tails, round wings, and ultra-grippy, piercing talons. Hawks snatch up unsuspecting prey on the ground from the sky, which typically includes small mammals and reptiles. They eat insects as well, and on occasion, they turn small birds into meals. There have also been occasions of hawks attacking poultry, which can be devastating for those who keep coops.

These birds call nearly every continent home, except for the icy environment of Antarctica. They may be small or medium-sized and there is often confusion about these birds. True hawks are part of the Accipiter genus and include sparrowhawks and goshawks. However, other types of birds are often called hawks, including harriers and buzzards. Even some birds from the Falconidae family are called hawks, including caracaras and falcons.


Falcons are often mistaken for hawks.


Types of Hawks

Hawks are active during the day and are considered powerful raptors, with the females being larger than the males. In North America, the most common hawk you might spot is the red-tailed hawk. This hawk looks for high perches and enjoys open country environments. Although it turns rodents into meals, it may also go for larger mammals like rabbits or squirrels. The males, when mating, offer the females fantastic flight displays, often passing them prey as they dive in the sky.

The northern goshawk is a medium-large raptor that inhabits several parts of the world, including North America, Asia, and Europe. They have orange or red eyes and dwell in forest environments, using the cover of trees to surprise their prey. When nesting, northern goshawks are fiercely protective. Some of these hawks migrate whereas others stay put year-round in their preferred habitats. They are slate-gray and white, with darker colorations on their backs and lighter on their breasts.

Meaning and Signs of Seeing a Hawk

Signs of Seeing a Hawk infographic
When the hawk appears, it reminds you of your own intelligence. If you are in a pickle, lean into your innate abilities.

When the hawk appears repeatedly, it is there to deliver a message of adaptability and independence. The hawk arrives to remind you of your natural clairvoyance, spirituality, and intelligence. These birds are bright, much like crows and ravens, and they know how to execute a well-thought-out plan. They incorporate tools into their strategies and move forward with a steadfast attitude. When the hawk appears, it reminds you of your own intelligence; your own ability to problem-solve with careful thought and strategy. If you are in a pickle, lean into your innate abilities.

1. Leadership

If you keep seeing a hawk, it’s a reminder that you have leadership abilities. While sometimes it makes sense to let another steer the boat, on some occasions, you need to take the wheel. The hawk appears to let you know it’s time to take charge. Use your talents and inner power to take control of the situation you’re facing. Assess possible outcomes, develop a plan, and stay focused on achieving your goals.

2. Vision

Hawks are powerful birds that fly with incredible skill and use their acute eyesight to guide them. If you are facing difficulties, the hawk arrives to remind you of your inherent talents. While there are times when you feel off-course and start to doubt yourself, the hawk serves to help you remember that you are powerful, and you know how to move forward, no matter how treacherous the path ahead is. It’s time to use your intrinsic gifts and control the situation.

red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawks are the most common in North America.

©Richard G Smith/

3. Freedom

There’s nothing more freeing than venturing into the sky, the heavens above you, and the earth beneath you. Hawks symbolize freedom, and if you are in a constricting situation, the hawk arrives to remind you of your inherent right to be free. Lean into your independence, take that leap, and trust that you will know how to land on the other side.

4. Divine Guidance

In spiritual traditions, hawks are associated with divinity. If you have been seeing hawks more often, it could be a message from a spiritual guide that you are under loving, watchful protection. The hawk could be advising you to pay close attention, as messages are being sent your way. Keep your eyes and ears open while you navigate this phase of your life, as opportunities are right around the corner.

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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