Moderately dense coniferous or mixed coniferous-deciduous forests near marshes or open areas with suitable perches for hunting (Duncan and Duncan 1998). Open areas may be muskegs, scrubby spruce, forest glades, swamps, meadows, burned areas, or logged areas (Mikkola 1983, Cramp 1985, Voous 1988). Extends to tree line, including taiga/tundra ecotone (Duncan and Duncan 1998). In Alaska, occurs in open-canopy forests or forest edges (Meehan and Ritchie 1982) and old mature spruce stands (de la Torres 1990). Nests in dead tree stubs or woodpecker holes (Duncan and Duncan 1998). Fire may play an important role in providing nesting sites and increasing open hunting habitat (Ball 1954, Mindell 1983, Peck and James 1983).
Ball, S. C. 1954. Additional birds from Eastern Gaspe. Canadian Field-Naturalist 68:103-108. Cramp, S. (ed.). 1985. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol. 4. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, U.K. de la Torre, J. 1990. Owls: Their life and behavior. Crown Publ., NY.
Duncan, J. R. and P. A. Duncan. 1998. Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula). In The Birds of North America, Vol. 7, No. 356 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists’ Union.
Meehan, R. H. and R. J. Ritchie. 1982. Habitat requirements of Boreal and Hawk Owls in interior Alaska. Pp. 188-196 in Raptor management and biology in Alaska and western Canada: Symposium and workshop, February 17-20, 1981, Anchorage, AK (W. N. Ladd, and P. F. Schempf, eds.). Anchorage, AK.
Mikkola, H. 1983. Owls of Europe. Buteo Books, Vermillion, SD.
Mindell, D. P. 1983. Nesting raptors in southwestern Alaska: status, distribution, and aspects of biology. USDI, BLM, Alaska Tech. Rep. 8. Anchorage, AK.
Peck, G. K. and R. D. James. 1983. Breeding birds of Ontario: nidiology and distribution. Vol. 1: nonpasserines. R. Ontario Mus. Life. Sci. Misc. Publ., Toronto.
Voous, K. H. 1988. Owls of the northern hemisphere. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.