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I have always LOVED birds of prey. To my shock this summer 3 showed up in my neighborhood. I live in the middle of town. I first saw one when someone ran over a squirrel and it swooped down and snatched it up. After that I saw 3 sitting on power lines or flying by. I never got close enough to get a good look. Today I finally got a good look. It was sitting on a dead branch in a huge pecan tree next door. Our band of neighborhood thugs (blue jays) were dive bombing it. It just sat there like the blue jays didnít exist. I tried to get a pic but it was to far away. SoÖ..I have looked and looked and cant identify it. In all my life I have never seen one. It was about 2x larger than the blue jays; was grayish on top.; had a white stripe above its eyes; white spotted chest ; and a small amount of red on its back or shoulders. I know it was not a red tail hawk or a American kestrel. I thought maybe a Merlin but it was to big. I live in Abilene, TX. I have been obsessed with these birds for months. If any one could help shed the light on what they are I would be sooo grateful.
Thanks so much,
They are scattered during breeding season in Texas. There should be more and more showing up with fall and winter coming. Most winter in the southern states. Mine start to show up when we still have snow on the ground in Michigan in the spring. They primarily eat birds, so if you have feeders up be prepared to be serving up some of your small visitors to these guys. I saw one take a Muskrat, so their diet isn't limited to birds, but they prefer them to rodents. If you have three Cooper's I'd guess that it is a family group. Cities are not the greatest place for them, but they like cities for the abundance of Pigeon and Starling. We lost three migrating Cooper's (all young) last spring to building strikes. I don't know if they were chasing prey or being chased by our Peregrines in downtown Lansing and didn't turn in time.
Aww. Im sorry Stelco. I would hate to see that. I live in a area with alot of big trees and a few empty lots so maybe they will be ok. I have a "bird" garden and a pond. And I noticed since the hawks the other birds have been scarce. I have seen red tailed hawks catch birds out in the country. Its a pretty neat site. I guess some might say that is morbid. But, I love birds of prey. They are such powerful animals.
This is the "real" Stelco. She fledged in Hamilton, Ontario in 1997 and has made her summer home here in Lansing since 98. I was involved in studying her and two males that have mated with her until this year. Raptors are my favorites, too. I'll see if I have more photos.
wow. GREAT pictures. The only hawks I ever see, aside from one peregrine in my old neighborhood, are when I'm travelling and see red tails. The 'hood I'm in is so new there are just some pigeons, jays, and mockingbirds. Not enough trees nearby for the big guys.
Really amazing pic. Thank you so much for sharing. I have loved birds of pray since I was 14. I found a baby owl and raised it, taught it to hunt, and set it free. My parents thought I was nuts. lol They still do.
Do you study raptors for work, school or fun?
If I studied birds for work it probably wouldn't be fun anymore. :)
I have been toying with the idea of working with schools, science staff and kids to get a state wide Purple Martin project going. Just can't find the time right now. If you have too much fun studying birds you end up working for free (or it costs you money!).
I did this out of my pocket and that's just a little bit:
Thats a cool site. I am not sure if we have Purple Martins. I think thats really awsome you are trying to educate kids. I used to do the same things but with enviromental issues. I also did a horny toad watch with Texas Parks and Wildlife. There is a Monarch butterfly watch going on here right now. I am really glad I started this thread. I forgot how much I loved getting involved w/wildlife. I have been too busy being a mom I guess. Keep up the good work. We need more ppl like you!
You have TONS of Purple Martins in most of Texas. Abilene would be a great place to host Martins. A colony is not hard to start there. It is hard to start and maintain a colony in Michigan and many northern states.
Being a good mother is more important than what I do.
That was sweet to say being a good mom was important. I am going camping in 2 weeks at a lake. I will have to look for some Purple Martins. I do know we have lots of mud martins. (not sure if thats the correct name). My grandparents have had a pair come make nest on there porch for years and years. They cover undersides of bridges with nest around here. I will let you know if I see any.
I was looking out my window yesterday and was watching a squirrel when this huge bird came down and tried to catch it. The squirrel made it under some brush just in time. The bird then got up in one of my pecan trees and waited for the squirrel to come out. Since our hurricanes the squirrel population here has been low so I went outside and shooed the bird away. I still don't know what kind it was.
lavender, I'd have to check to see if Harris' hawks are in your area as they are only in the southwest. They aren't migratory and live in family groups.
Some raptors eat primarily mammals, some eat primarily birds, some eat primarily fish... and some eat primarily insects! All raptors can't be lumped into one general category. (Not all migrate either.)
Just thought I would give an update. The birds are Mississippi kites and they made a nest across the ally from my house!!!!! I am soo excited. They are wonderful to watch. They are so protective of there nest.