Earlier this week, the White House reported the sighting of a new guest on their famous grounds -- a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.
Red-tailed Hawks are abundant across the United States, and have adapted well to developed areas. Pale Male, New York City's famous hawk, is an example of the large raptor thriving in an urban environment (he and his mate have three young that are about to fledge from their famous nest).
The appearance of a predator on the White House grounds is a good sign for visiting birders, but not so good for any resident rodents living on the property. Red-tailed Hawks prey upon mice, rats, voles, rabbits, and other mammals, as well as other birds, reptiles, and amphibians. This raptor might just earn a spot as a groundskeeper 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Red-tailed Hawk makes a raspy call that is almost always used in popular media as the voice of our national bird, the Bald Eagle? How appropriate would it be to hear the majestic cry of the Red-tailed Hawk while visiting the White House?
Today a beautiful bird of prey from the American west joins Birdorable: the 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 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.
Tomorrow's species is a flightless bird from Antarctica who prefers rocks to ice. Can you guess what it will be?
Birders know that Cooper's Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks look alike. These two species share many of the same field marks, and can often be found in the same habitat, behaving the same way. However, they don't often appear in the exact same place at the same time. That's what makes a series of photos posted earlier this month on the Cornell FeederWatch blog truly remarkable. A staff member observed and photographed a Sharpie mobbing a Cooper's Hawk, and the results were pretty amazing: Sharp-shinned Hawk Versus Cooper’s Hawk. When you've just got one bird to identify, there are few key points to consider when trying to determine whether your bird is a Cooper's Hawk or a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Size, head shape, and body proportions are among the important attributes to keep in mind in this identification challenge. This cute original design featuring a Birdorable Cooper's Hawk next to a Birdorable Sharp-shinned Hawk points out these tips and more. This new design is available on t-shirts and novelties for your accipter-studying convenience.