We describe a mass mortality event of wintering Swainson's hawks (SH, Buteo swainsoni) in central Argentina during November 2003. One hundred thirteen SH were found dead as a consequence of a single hailstorm. In addition, 14 hawks with severe injuries were recovered alive, but only 10 of these survived 1 wk later. Another 45 dead birds of 11 species were collected in the area. Interviews with local landowners conducted in other areas of the SH wintering grounds provided further evidence of past hailstorm-related mortality involving SH, suggesting that such events commonly occur in the Argentine Pampas. This potential cause of mass mortality of SH wintering in agricultural areas of Argentina may be significant when added to the increased mortality associated with poisoning events during the last decade.
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Vol. 41 • No. 3