Tag Archives: Red Tailed Hawk

Large birds are easier to identify

The Red Tailed Hawk is probably the most common hawk in North America.  Red-tailed Hawks (also known as a chicken hawk in the USA) soar above open fields, slowly turning circles as they hunt for prey. Other times you’ll see them atop fence posts, eyes fixed on the ground to catch the movements of a vole or a rabbit, or simply waiting before climbing a thermal updraft into the sky.

Both male and female Red-tailed Hawks build the nest, or simply refurbish one of the nests they’ve used in previous years. Nests are tall piles of dry sticks.  Red-tailed Hawks typically put their nests in the crowns of tall trees or cliffs  where they have a commanding view of the landscape. They will lay 1-3 eggs in the spring. While the female most often sits on the nest, the male will sit on the nest when the female goes to hunt. The male brings the food once the eggs hatch.

The babies known as eyasses, and stay in the nest for about 45 days. Then they start to learn to fly and hunt. At this stage they are known as  fledglings. It takes about 10 weeks for the fledglings to mature and leave the nest.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America. This large heron has yellow eyes. It has a white head with black stripes and black plumes sticking out of the back of its head. They find a new mate each year.

Great blue herons are waders. They can be seen along the edge of lakes and streams, walking slowly or standing in the water, patiently waiting for a fish to come within range. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects and other small creatures.

Great blue herons’ size (3.2 to 4.5 feet/1 to 1.4 meters) and wide wingspan (5.5 to 6.6 feet/1.7 to 2 meters) make them a joy to see in flight. They can cruise at some 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) an hour.

Though great blue herons hunt alone, they typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, but sometimes nest in low shrubs. The nest can be a meter wide. Females produce two to seven eggs, which both parents protect and incubate. Chicks can survive on their own by about two months of age.

Osprey and its young

Osprey are a large raptor, found around the world near oceans, rivers and lakes. They each fish which they catch with their large hooked talons. They build their nests on the top of dead trees, on telephone poles or other high structures including manmade nesting platforms.

They return to the same nest year after year. The female will stay close to the nest, while the male will bring food to the young.  They have a wingspan of 1.6 metres.

This post is part of the Sunday Post challenge started by Jakesprinter. You can find out all about it at http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/sunday-post-nature/

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