14 Apr 2011

Raptors large and small

It is snowing out!  I still can't believe it, not when it is the middle of April.  While I was dreaming of sunshine to come, soon I hope, I thought I would distract myself from snowfall by going through the pictures I gathered last year on bird watch. Here are just a few:

Red Tailed  Hawk Juvenile
Red Tailed Hawk
The Red Tailed Hawk is a large member of the Buteo family of hawks which are broad-winged hawks, but not to be confused with the Broadwing Hawk which is another species of hawk entirely.

Cooper's Hawk Juv
Cooper's Hawk Juvenile

The Cooper's hawk is a member of the Accipiter family of hawks and is primarily a forest hawk.  You will not see this small hawk about in the open sky, unless it is flushed out by another predator or during migration.

Prairie Hawk at top
Prairie Hawk
The Prairie Hawk is actually one of the smaller members of the Falcon family of hawks and, as the name suggests, it's habitat is the Prairies.

Osprey with catch

The Osprey, aka fish eagle, has been given it's own classification as far as raptor families go.  It's family name is Pandionidae.  It was given it's own classification because it has developed physical characteristics and behavior uniquely suited to it's exclusive diet of fish.  Opreys however are not eagles.

Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, and Osprey are all raptors.  A raptor is by definition a bird of prey, or any bird that catches and kills prey with it's feet.  Did you know that Owls are also considered to be raptors?


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