Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Birds of Prey Part 2

Two Different Ways to Hunt

Red Shouldered Hawk pair in my backyard last winter.

Cooper's Hawk in my backyard this summer.
If you have read the blog for awhile, you know I have two species of hawks that like to hunt in my backyard.  They have two very different but lethal hunting styles.  This morning one of them was successful.

Red Shouldered Hawk's Approach

Red Shouldered Hawk hunting in my backyard last week.

The Red Shouldered Hawk's hunting style is perching in plain view, looking around(like the one above), then striking. It uses it's powerful wings to thrust into flight and catch it's prey mostly on the ground.  The Red Shouldered Hawk is a very loud hawk but I can tell when it is hunting because it is visible but quiet.  The other thing, I have noticed is most of the squirrels and birds carry on feeding around my yard.  They don't seem to be too worried about the talons and sharp beak that is observing them from a nearby tree.  

The red shoulder where it gets it's name.

Cooper's Hawk's Approach

The Cooper's Hawk takes a more stealthier approach to hunting.  It usually catches it's prey by surprise or chases them through the trees.  It uses it's long tail like a rudder and it's shorter wings to maneuver through the trees after birds.  The above pictures (taken this morning) shows how lethal the Cooper's Hawk can be.  This was a Morning Dove that wasn't very lucky.  The below picture is what was left behind after it quickly took it's catch somewhere safer to eat.  The Cooper's Hawk is known to prey on birds around feeders and this is what probably happened in this case.  The squirrels and birds were quiet and nowhere to be found after this strike for about 30 minutes.  

What types of Birds of Prey do you have in your area?  Tell us about them in the comments or on Facebook.  Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.  Happy Holidays and Happy Birding!  

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