Welcome to Week #36 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #36 challenge is all about the Hawks!
The feature image is a Red-shouldered Hawk.
Accipitriformes is an order of avians with 262 species and 75 genera in 4 extant families. Accipitriformes is derived from the latin word accipiter “hawk” plus new latin -iformes “like”. There are three families within the order. Accipitridae, meaning small to large birds with strongly hooked bills; includes hawks, eagles, vultures, harriers and kites. Pandionidae includes the osprey and Sagittariidae includes the secretarybird. It may also include an extinct family called Teratornithidae which was a large bird of prey living in North and South America.
Accipitriformes does not include falcons. The DNA of falcons have matched them to be closely related to parrots and passerines. The Black Vulture and Turkey Vulture found in North America are not among these either. They belong to the order Cathartiformes and the family Cathartidae.
The Osprey is the only species in its family of Pandionidae. The Osprey can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They are found wherever water is present. Their diet consists of fresh fish. They can live 15-20 years.
Cooper’s Hawk is a North American bird of prey. They are often seen flying high above at treetop level looking for birds to snack on. They will fly through vegetation to get a meal. Often times, they are unwanted visitors at bird feeders. In the instance of this photo, this Cooper’s Hawk swooped in trying to capture birds on our feeders with no success, landing on the electrical wires leading from the street to our house. I was in the dining room eating lunch when it all happened. I keep my camera on the table at all times ready so I was able to get the photo through the window. This was the first time I’ve seen one in my yard just a couple of days ago.
Red-shouldered Hawks are found in North America and are one of the most distinctive hawks with their high pitched whistle. It is the most common hawk in Florida. They are easy to identify when perched like this pair, but in flight, translucent crescents near the wingtip help with identification.
Found mostly in the central and western part of the United States, the Ferruginous Hawk is found in prairies, deserts and open ranges. They hunt from high in the sky or perched from a lone tree. This one was hunting and we watched it swoop down into the prairie grass and perch up on the electrical pole in Montana at dusk.
Harris’s Hawk is a favorite among falconers. In the wild, these hawks are found in the southwestern part of the U.S., Mexico, South America and small areas in Europe. This one lives in Florida with his handler and other birds of prey. Harris’s Hawk hunt in groups cooperatively which makes it easier for them to capture prey together, rather than individually.
The Bald Eagle is another North American predator and happens to be the National Bird of the United States since 1782. In the native American community, the Bald Eagle has been a spiritual symbol for far longer than the U.S. has been a union. This bird was once endangered, but through many conservation efforts, they are flourishing and making a tremendous comeback.
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Next time…Week #37 – Birds with White Feathers