Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds of Prey

Welcome to Week #9 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #9 challenge is Birds of Prey.

Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.

SORRY I’M LATE. A MAJOR THUNDERSTORM HAD ME TAKE DOWN ALL MY ELECTRONICS FOR 4 HOURS LAST NIGHT JUST AS I WAS STARTING TO WRITE MY BLOGS.

No, this is not a preview to the new 2020 DC Comics Harley Quinn movie, “Birds of Prey”, but you can check out the official site here if interested.

Birds of Prey or raptors include species of birds that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. They have a keen eyesight to find and capture their food, often while flying high in the sky. They have strong talons for grasping and killing their prey and also have strong curved beaks to tear their food apart.

The feature image is one of a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks that we watched do their mating ritual at Spanish Pond in the Timucuans National Preserve. Further below, you will see the pair together.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle is the symbol of American patriotism. It has been afterall, our Nation’s Bird since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for Native Americans for a lot longer. If Benjamin Franklin had his way, Americans would be honoring the Wild Turkey. Franklin disliked the thieving ways of the Bald Eagle. This bird will harass other raptors such as the Osprey, stealing their food in midair. One part of integrity our national bird has is they are monogamous and mate for life. Their nests will often weigh a ton or 2,000 pounds and will be reused year after year unless it is destroyed by strong winds. The male & female share the duties of hunting while raising their young.

Osprey

Osprey are found throughout most of North America. They are year round visitors to the Southeast and Northern California. They are known for their fishing ability. They can soar high, swoop down or dive, plucking a fish out of the water. They possess a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and behind. Osprey may log more than 160,000 migration miles during their 15-20 year lifespan. They build nests high on telephone poles, cell phone towers and human made platforms.

Osprey catching a large fish at Little Talbot Island.
Osprey catches a large fish at Little Talbot Island State Park.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawks are found in parts of Mexico, but are mainly found in the mid to eastern parts of the United States, both north and south. They also live year round in parts of California & Oregon. It is the most common hawk in Florida besides the Osprey. The American Crow can often be seen bombing this hawk, but sometimes they work together to attack Great Horned Owls to chase the owls out of the hawk’s territory. Hawks will take owlets out of the nest just as the owls will take hawk chicks out of their nest. Yes, for consumption. Circle of Life…..Eat or be eaten!

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk in Montana

Ferruginous Hawks are found from the mid to western parts of the United States and down into Mexico. We spotted this guy on our first night in Montana last September. They are found in prairies, deserts and open ranges. They hunt from a lone tree and in this case an electrical pole. See the tree next to it. It was the only one around. Interesting fact is this hawk along with the Rough-legged Hawk and Golden Eagles are the only American hawks to have feathered legs all the way down to their toes.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture spotted in Viera, Florida at the River Lakes Conservation Area.

A face only a mother could love! The Turkey Vulture is a scavenging bird of prey. It is common in most of North America. It is distinctive by its red head. These birds ride thermals in the sky and circle looking for recently deceased roadkill. They use their keen sense of smell to root out fresh carcasses. Nature’s vacuum cleaner.

Harris’s Hawk

The Harris’s Hawk is found in the western states, Texas and Mexico. I’ve only seen one in the wild once and this guy. He lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida. His handler is a licensed Falconer and we had the pleasure of seeing this fine specimen up close and personal. This hawk is the most social of all North American raptors. They cooperate at nests and hunt together as a team. While hunting, a group of Harris’s Hawk will together surround their prey, flush it for another to catch and take turns chasing it. Because of their nature, they are popular among falconers and educational programs.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed Kite in search of food high in the sky.

So, I gave you a small taste last week of the Swallow-tailed Kite. These raptors are one of the coolest birds on the planet with their forked tail and black & white feathers. They migrate to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, spots along the Gulf states, plus parts of Mexico and Central America to breed. For this reason, we don’t put bird seed in our feeders during the summer months. Kites are acrobatic when they hunt. They will role and dive towards their prey which can be dragonflies, frogs, lizards, snakes and nestling birds. Adults swallow their food while flying and rarely perch during the day.

Swallow-tailed kite searching for birds high in the treetops in Jacksonville, Florida.

Multiple breeding pairs often nest in the same or nearby trees. The nonbreeding Kites may hang around the same area and bring food and nesting material to the females, but they will decline their offer.


Until next week…Week #10 – Yellow or Orange Legged Birds.

68 Comments on “Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds of Prey

  1. You are lucky to see these magnificent birds! I am always amazed by hawks and in my country the only time I saw them was when I hiked to a falls that’s located 10 hours away from the city πŸ˜”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we are lucky to see the birds that we see here in Florida. I have to remember that because sometimes seeing the same birds get redundant. I just have to take a trip somewhere and see new birds and then I can come home and appreciate the birds we have. πŸ™‚ Keeps life interesting. I’m sorry you don’t have the same view we have. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Fabulous selection of birds of prey, Lisa. I don’t see them so much in the skies over us being in a busy seaside town but hopefully after our move to the country that will change πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure it will change when you move to the country. That is more their habitat. We get the Osprey at our seaside, but Florida is a peninsula so we have the best of all world’s except when a hurricane is headed our way. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wise…that is the operative word! I’ve lost 3 modems in 9 years and I lost my big printer a couple of years ago because lightning hit the house. Last week we had one strike in our backyard. Even though everything is on surge protectors, I don’t trust it. Now with the business, I can’t afford to lose any of my equipment. I don’t write my blogs on my small devices. Yes, tell me about your radio tower.

      Like

  4. Love seeing your photos! We see a hawk of some kind around here, but very rarely, so I don’t have photos of any of these kinds of birds.
    Wishing you a super Friday and weekend! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I figured you would be the creative one for this week even with no photos. πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed seeing what we’ve got. You have a wonderful day and weekend. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Lisa! I thought we probably had to have actual photos. Well, if I can find something about one of the raptors, I’ll make a post to add. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s nice when you do and it is a photo challenge, but you always come up with some whimsical things and I love seeing your thoughts come alive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, well…in his wake, he left us with daily thunderstorms. Not only do I have to disconnect everything, but I have to go lay on the couch with my dog, Heaven. She is so freaked out by storms and fireworks. She has to be touching me and covered up with a blanket. All I can do is hit the lazyboy, legs up and turn on the TV. She is 13 1/2 and this is the worse its been. Everything else comes to a stand still. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will and she is quite spoiled and that’s okay too. Heaven got me through one of the toughest times in my life when my granddaughter died. That was over 11 1/2 years ago. So to lose that will be rough, but she will find my granddaughter in heaven as her namesake will prove. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s okay. It’s been a while now and my daughter actually lost another baby a year ago. She was stillborn. But…my daughter has 3 beautiful girls and we are thankful for them. I’m ready for this pandemic to be over so I can see them & my grandson. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • My oldest is 15. Youngest is about to turn 6 then a 9 & 10 year old between 2 of my kids. My youngest daughter has a 100 pound brown lab, my canine grandchild. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I am. I didn’t feel that way at the time my daughter told me she was pregnant her senior year of high school, but it worked out. She graduated and she has a successful career now. Miss those kids! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! Oh yes, you want to see that Kite for sure! They are all over Florida in the summertime which is really the worst time to visit. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tell me about it! We were there visiting my mom a few years ago at the end of September hoping for milder temps. Ha! It was the hottest September on record that year! I still have to get serious and look through my bird images to ID the gulls I saw there, but I didn’t see a Kite! Perhaps they were gone by late September?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Again, you have shared with us some amazing photos – as well as so much information. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us – it is always so interesting. I will look out some of my photos now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, we have not driven down to the Keys. It is on our bucket list. Since it is about 6 1/2-7 hours down there, it has not been a priority this year. We have only been doing day trips with the pandemic and not staying overnight anywhere. I hope to get down there at some point, plus I want to see the lighthouses. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you. The Turkey Vulture is the most recent a couple of weeks ago down in Viera, Florida. It was a great birding day. 😊

      Like

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