Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Harris's Hawk

I suspect this pair of Harris's Hawks see something scrumptious in the desert scrub. They have the advantage of this tall utility pole, but the little critter in their sights managed to escape.

(Click any picture to enlarge)

With the Catalina Mountains of Tucson, Arizona as a backdrop, this is home territory for 3-5 Harris's Hawks. I'm unsure of the exact number because I've not seen all of them in the same place at the same time.

Harris's Hawks live communally in small family groups. They hunt together and share the food.

As medium-to-large hawks, not shy or retreating, you may come across them on suburban roads and in agricultural fields.

They don't migrate either...rather holding a particular home territory the year round.

In the USA only Tucson and southernmost Texas can claim a resident population.

The chestnut red and charcoal black birds will impress most anyone lucky enough to see them up-close, low-down and hunting.

This juvenile is just coming into his/her own. Their white breast turns dark with age.

Size matters!

Females are 35% larger than males. They look alike except for size.

Here the female asserts herself and removes the male from atop the utility pole. The male drops to the wire below.

It was a not-so-delicate suggestion to get out of the way.

Finding food is a daily quest. You might think birds just sit around in trees all day, but eating is a daily challenge. Paying attention to every little things that moves in the desert pays off.

If you've ever been told, "You have the eyes of a hawk," take it as a complement. It's not just a saying. It's a real thing.


Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds