Blog Archive: Birds of Prey

Birdorable Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falconry and Recovery

October 8th, 2012 in Birds of Prey, Falcons 5 comments

Falconry is the sport of hunting with a trained bird of prey. Peregrine Falcons have been popular birds among falconers for thousands of years. When the species became endangered due to pesticide use in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the expertise of falconers was instrumental in the eventual recovery of the species. In 1970, the North American population was believed to be just 10 or 20 percent of its historical average. The species was added to the Endangered Species list in 1975; at that time there were just 324 known nesting pairs in the United States. Harmful pesticides like DDT were banned, but the population needed additional help in order to increase their numbers.

Birdorable Peregrine Falcon on a glove

Because Peregrine Falcons breed successfully in captivity, falconers continued to raise and hunt with captive-reared birds during the time it became endangered in the wild. Later, captive breeding and release programs in the United States, Germany, and elsewhere were extremely successful. These were done with cooperation between government agencies, non-government conservation groups, and experienced falconers. Today, the Peregrine Falcon is no longer on the Endangered Species list and populations have rebounded across much of their near-worldwide range. Peregrines have adapted to nest in urban and suburban settings. In the United States, many urban Peregrine Falcon nests are monitored by volunteers or via remote cameras. Birdorable fans know that our favorite Peregrine Falcon camera is the Rfalconcam in Rochester, New York.

Birdorable Black Falcon

Bonanza Bird #20: Black Falcon

Today's latest Birdorable species is a fantastic bird of prey from Australia: the Black Falcon!

The Black Falcon is a species of raptor endemic to Australia. They are found across a wide range which covers roughly the eastern two-thirds of the continent.

BLACK FALCON Falco subniger
BLACK FALCON Falco subniger by beeater

Black Falcons have an overall dark plumage. Young birds are nearly completely black. Birds become lighter as they age; older Black Falcons are usually a dark sooty brown color overall.

Tomorrow's species is a long-legged bird of South American grasslands. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview
Birdorable Ferruginous Hawk

Bonanza Bird #18: Ferruginous Hawk

Today a beautiful bird of prey from the American west joins Birdorable: the Ferruginous Hawk!

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest species of hawk found in North America. They are even sometimes mistaken for eagles when seen in flight - they're that big! They live in open habitats across western North America. They are known for their beautiful coloration, and for their large gape (mouth opening). Check out the photo below!

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

One special Ferruginous Hawk is close to our hearts here at Birdorable. If you don't know about Journey the Ferruginous Hawk and his amazing story of survival, go have a read and be amazed: Ferruginous Hawk Recovered from Plow of Freight Train | Hawk travels 1,500 miles by train | The Amazing Journey.

Cute Ferruginous Hawk t-shirts and gifts

Tomorrow's species is a flightless bird from Antarctica who prefers rocks to ice. Can you guess what it will be?

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Birdorable Red-shouldered Hawk

Bonanza Bird #14: Red-shouldered Hawk

Today the beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk joins Birdorable!

Red-shouldered Hawk

With their distinctive markings, persistent call, and widespread range, the Red-shouldered Hawk is one of North America's most recognizable birds of prey. They are the most common buteo we see around here at Birdorable HQ (in central Florida). Both photos below were taken by us, very close to our home. It was a lot of fun to watch the baby Red-shouldered Hawks grow up at our nearby nature park!

parent Red-shouldered Hawk
Parent Red-shouldered Hawk by Powered by Birds
baby Red-shouldered Hawks
Baby Red-shouldered Hawks by Powered by Birds
Cute Red-shouldered Hawk t-shirts and gifts

Tomorrow's bird is a species of sparrow with bold markings. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview
Birdorable Northern Harrier

Bonanza Bird #6: Northern Harrier

Today's new bird in the Birdorable Bonanza 2012 is the Northern Harrier.

Northern Harrier

In most birds of prey, males and females have similar plumage. The Northern Harrier is an exception to this rule. Males have a mostly grey plumage, while females have a brownish plumage. Northern Harriers have a unique flight style, swooping low over fields and prairies looking for prey items with a butterfly-like flapping pattern.

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier by canorus

The tendency to soar low over the ground combined with their unique plumage has earned male Northern Harriers a cute nickname: Grey Ghost.

Sample Northern Harrier t-shirts and gifts

Tomorrow's bird is a South American species of parrot with a raptoresque name. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview