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Birds of Prey

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    Why birds of prey, you ask. Well...I was first introduced to these magnificent creatures while volunteering at the zoo here and I've been hooked on birds of prey ever since. I find birds of prey very humbling, powerful, graceful, and inspiring.

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Harris Hawk, Sienna,  in the midst of her show routine. Summer '97

  Just the way they watch you, it seems that their eyes penetrate through you. I find that all birds of prey have a very intense look, stare, gaze or whatever you chose to call it. Whenever you have a hawk or falcon flying to your fist, it is quite humbling. Partly because your fist is just a perch to land on and the hawk/falcon chooses if it wants to land or fly elsewhere. The training given to that particular bird is just that, because there is still that wild instinct to do what it wants/needs.
    Have you seen a raptor catch its quarry or soar along in the thermals or perched in a tree along the highway, be it in person or on tv? Words that immediately pop into mind are powerful and graceful. Mother Nature made birds of prey the lords of the air -- the streamlined body, powerful wings, hooked bill, sharp talons, and keen eyesight.

    Of the hundreds of species of birds, birds of prey or raptors, as they are sometimes called, are the only specialized birds that capture their prey with their feet. Back in the old days, some people feared these creatures and others revered them as symbols of power and righteousness.
    There are over 300 species of raptors, both diurnal (day active) and nocturnal (night active). They have been put into six groups or families.

  • Pandiondae: Ospreys

  • Sagittariidae: Secretary birds

  • Strigiformes: Owls

  • Cathartidae: New World Vultures

  • Falconidae: Falcons and Caracaras

  • Accipitridae: Hawks, Kites, Buzzards, Eagles, Harriers, and Old World Vultures

    Many of the world's animal species are endangered and/or threatened...hell even the common animals you find all around will probably fall victim to habitat destruction, pollution and poaching.  You can do your part by building and providing nestboxes/homes to certain species, such as kestrels (small falcons) or screech owls.  I've got nestbox plans [ HERE ].

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