The narrowest part of Central America (Costa Rica and Panama) concentrates the massive raptor migration traveling between North and South America. These sites have been traditionally considered a transit zone for these raptors, who move fast and almost without feeding in this stretch. This natural history note informs about the poorly known behavior of migrant Swainson’s Hawks (Buteo swainsoni) in the Costa Rican Pacific lowlands. Hawks were observed between December and March, feeding in plowed sugar cane fields, and were attracted by agricultural fires to feed on insects driven away by the smoke. The observation dates and observed behaviors suggest that these hawks are overwintering in the area, instead of using it as a stopover. A potential overwintering site in Costa Rica poses the question of which selective forces and ecological conditions may be involved in shortening the migration.

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