Raptors, representative of those that may cause damage by preying on poultry and other birds, pets, and other animals: When two of the same species are pictured, mature birds on the left and immature birds on right. Pictured left to right. Hawks and owls are birds of prey and are frequently referred to as raptors— a term that includes the falcons, eagles, vultures, kites, ospreys, northern harriers, and crested caracaras.
Food habits vary greatly among the raptors. Hawks and owls are highly specialized predators that take their place at Depredating hawks and chicken top of the food chain.
Some are responsible for the loss of poultry or small game.
In the past, raptors were persecuted through indiscriminate shooting, poisoning, and pole trapping. The derogatory term chicken hawk was used generically to identify raptors, especially hawks, but has fallen out of usage during the past two decades.
Recently, many people have developed a more enlightened attitude toward raptors and their place in the environment.
These killings result in the needless loss of raptors, and they may lead to undesirable legal actions. If trapping or shooting is necessary, permits should be requested and processed as quickly as possible. Always consider the benefits that raptors provide before removing them from an area; their ecological importance, aesthetic value, and contributions as indicators of environmental health may outweigh the economic damage they cause.
Depredating hawks and chicken
There are two main groups of hawks: Accipiters are the forest-dwelling hawks. They are characterized by distinctive flight silhouettes—relatively short, rounded wings and a long rudder like tail.
Their flight pattern consists of several rapid wing beats, then a short period of gliding flight, followed by more rapid wing beats. Accipiters are rarely seen except during migration because they inhabit forested areas and are more secretive than many of the buteos. The largest and least common, but most troublesome, accipiter is the goshawk Fig.
It is a bold predator that feeds primarily on forest-dwelling rodents, rabbits, and birds. Occasionally, it is attracted by Depredating hawks and chicken poultry or large concentrations of game birds and can cause depredation problems. Its breeding range is limited to Canada, Depredating hawks and chicken northern United States, and the montane forests of the western United States.
Spectacular autumn invasions of goshawks occur at irregular intervals in the northern states. The buteos are known as the broad-winged or soaring hawks. They are the most commonly observed raptors in North America.
All buteos have long, broad wings and relatively short, fan-like tails. These features enable them to soar over open country during their daily travels and seasonal migrations.
The red-tailed hawk Fig.
Redtails can be found over the entire North American continent south of the treeless tundra and in much Depredating hawks and chicken Central America. They demonstrate a remarkably wide ecological tolerance for nesting and hunting sites throughout their extensive range. Typical eastern redtails nest in mature forests and woodlots, while in the Southwest they often nest on cliffs or in trees and cacti. Their diet, although extremely varied, usually contains large numbers of rodents and other small mammals.
Redtails occasionally take poultry and other livestock, but the benefits they provide in aesthetics, as well as in the killing of rodents may outweigh depredation costs. Other species of buteos rarely cause problems. Owls, unlike hawks, are almost entirely nocturnal. Thus, they are far more difficult to observe, and much less is known about them. They have large heads and large, forward-facing eyes. Their flight is described as noise-less and moth like.
There Depredating hawks and chicken 19 species of owls in the continental United States.