Photo Study Of Some Birds Of Prey In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Alaska And Other Places, 2008-2016

        I have been photographing birds of prey for the past couple of years. Birds of prey, also known as raptors, hunt and feed on other animals.
        In ornithology, the definition for "bird of prey" even has a narrower meaning, viz., birds that have very keen eyesight for finding food, strong
        feet for holding food, and a strong curved beak for tearing flesh. Most birds of prey also have strong curved talons for catching or killing prey.
       Also, this Photo Study is a special thank you to four experts who have helped and encouraged me throughout the years: August Mirabella,
       Arlene Koch, Scott Weidensaul and Art McMorris.
                                                                                      Here are some of the photographs:

Bald Eagle

 
Bald Eagle On An Alagnak River Bluff, Alaska 2013

Adult and Juvenile Bald Eagles, Alagnak River Alaska 2013

Juvenile Eagle, Alagnak River, Alaska, 2013

Juvenile Bald Eagle, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014

Juvenile Bald Eagle, Brigantine, NJ, 2014


Adult Bald Eagle, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014

 Juvenile Bald Eagle Shrieks At Osprey, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2013

Adult Bald Eagle On The Alagnak River With A Fish Tail, Alaska, 2013

Adult Bald Eagle On The Shore Of The Eagle River, Alaska, 2012

Adult Bald Eagle Flies By, Nockamixon SP, PA, 2013


Pair of Bald Eagles On Garden State Parkway Power Pole In New Jersey 2014

Adult Bald Eagle In Spruce, Alagnak River, Alaska, 2015

Adult Bald Eagle On Alagnak River Bluff, Alaska, 2015

Juvenile Bald Eagle On Alagnak River Bar, Alaska, 2015

Juvenile Bald Eagle Flies By, Alagnak River, Alaska, 2015

Second Year Bald Eagle Flies Over At Tuckerton, NJ, 2016

3rd Year Bald Eagle Flies Over At Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2016

Adult Bald Eagle Flies Over At Brigantine, NJ, 2016

Adult Bald Eagle Perched Near South Dike At Brigantine, NJ, 2016
 
Adult Bald Eagle Calling At Brigantine, NJ,  2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a large bird of prey found in North America. Its range includes most of Canada, Alaska, and all 
the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth
trees for nesting. The Bald Eagle is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish, which it swoops down and snatches from the water
with its talons. It builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species, up to 13
feet deep, 8.2 feet wide, and 1.1 tons in weight. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of four to five years. Bald Eagles are not actually bald;
the name derives from an older meaning of "white headed". The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The large and hooked beak,
feet and irises are bright yellow. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are about 25 percent larger than males. The Bald Eagle has a
body length 28–40 inches. Typical wingspan is between 5.9 and 7.5 feet. Weight is normally between 6.6 and 13.9 pounds. Females are about
25% larger than males, averaging 12 pounds and against the males' average weight of 9.0 pounds. The Bald Eagle is a powerful flier, and soars
on thermal convection currents. It reaches speeds of 35–43 mph when gliding and flapping, and about 30 mph while carrying fish. Its dive speed
is between 75–99 mph, though it seldom dives vertically. It is partially migratory, depending on location. If its territory has access to open water,
it remains there year-round, but if the body of water freezes during the winter, making it impossible to obtain food, it migrates to the south or
to the coast. The Bald Eagle is an opportunistic carnivore with the capacity to predate a great variety of prey. Throughout their range, fish often
comprise the majority of the Eagle's diet. Mammalian prey and carrion include rabbits, ground squirrels, raccoons, muskrats, beavers and deer
fawns. Newborn, dead, sickly or already injured mammals are often targeted. sometimes attacked. Where available, seal colonies can provide
much food. To hunt fish, the Eagle swoops down over the water and snatches the fish out of the water with its talons. They eat by holding the
fish in one claw and tearing the flesh with the other. Eagles have structures on their toes called spicules that allow them to grasp fish. The
average lifespan of Bald Eagles in the wild is around 20 years, with the oldest confirmed one having been 28 years of age. In captivity, they
often live somewhat longer. In one instance, a captive individual in New York lived for nearly 50 years.
(Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)


A Golden Eagle Flies Over The Hawkwatch At Lake Nockamixon State Park, 2008

   The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the best-known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the most widely
    distributed species of Eagle.. They are dark brown, with lustrous golden-brown plumage on their napes. Immature eagles of this
    species typically have white on the tail and often have white markings on the wings. Golden Eagles use their agility and speed
    combined with powerful feet and massive, sharp talons to snatch up a variety of prey (mainly hares, rabbits, marmots and other
    ground squirrels).
  Sometimes seen attacking large mammals, or fighting off coyotes or bears in defense of its prey and young,
    the Golden Eagle has long inspired both reverence and fear.
 
The Golden Eagle is a very large, dark brown raptor with broad
    wings, ranging from 26 to 40 inches in length and from 6 to 8 feet. Golden eagles maintain home ranges or territories that may
    be as large as 77 square miles. They build large nests in high places (mainly cliffs) to which they may return for several breeding
    years. Most breeding activities take place in the spring; they are monogamous and may remain together for several years or possibly
    for life. Females lay up to four eggs, and then incubate them for six weeks. Typically, one or two young survive to fledge in about
    three months. These juvenile Golden Eagles usually attain full independence in the fall, after which they wander widely until
    establishing a territory for themselves in four to five years.   
 
(Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Red-tailed Hawk

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk, Cape May SP, NJ, 2010

Adult Red-tailed Hawk At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2013

Two Red-tailed Hawks Try To Land On The Same Treetop In Pennsylvania, 2013

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014

Adult Red-tailed Hawk Calling, Harleysville, PA, 2013

 Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2013

Adult Red-tailed Hawk In Harleysville, PA 2013

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk At Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Adult Red-tailed Hawk At Brigantine, NJ, 2014


Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk Takes Off, Middle Creek WMA, PA, 2013

 
This Beautiful, Partially Albino, Red-tailed Hawk Has Been Showing Up Each Winter For The Past Five Years Near
Route 663 In Hatfield, PA.   Its Feathers Are White But Its Eyes, Beak, Legs and Talons Are All Normally Colored



Adult Red-tailed Hawk, Bucks County, PA, 2014

Red-tailed Hawk At Green Lane 2015

Red-tailed Hawk Cloaking Prey At Green Lane 2015

Red-tailed Hawk With Chick, Bucks County, PA, 2015

Red-tailed Hawk With Chick, Bucks County, PA, 2015

Red-tailed Hawk Pair, Harleysville, PA, 2015

Adult Red-tailed Hawk Takes Off At Peace Valley Park, 2015

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk Flies Over Us At Peace Valley Park, 2015

Adult Red-tailed Hawk At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2015

Adult Red-tailed Hawk At Nockamixon SP, PA, 2015


Red-tailed Hawk On Bluebird Box, Green Lane, PA, 2016

Adult Red-tailed Hawk On Pole, Green Lane, PA, 2016

Adult Red-tailed Hawk At Green Lane Park, Montgomery, PA, 2016

Adult Red-tailed Hawk At Green Lane, PA, 2016

 
Red-tailed Hawk Flies Over At Green Lane, PA, 2016
 
Red-tailed Hawk Pair, Harleysville, PA 2016

Adult Red-tailed Hawk On Hay Bale, Harleysville, PA, 2016


Adult Red-tailed Hawk, Nockamixon SP, Bucks County, PA, 2016

Adult Red-tailed Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2016

Adult Red-tailed Hawk In Cedar, Harleysville, PA, 2016


Adult Red-tailed Hawk In Cedar, Harleysville, PA, 2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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   The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a bird of prey breeding throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and
   northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies, and is one of the most common buteos in North America. Red-tailed
   Hawks can acclimate to all the ecosystems within their range. There are fourteen recognized subspecies, which vary in appearance and
   range. It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 1.5 to 3.5 pounds and measuring
   18 to 26 inches in length, with a wingspan from 43 to 57 inches. The Red-tailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females
   averaging about 25% larger than males. The Red-tailed Hawk occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts,
   grasslands, coniferous and deciduous forests, tropical rainforests, agricultural fields and urban areas. It lives throughout the North
   American continent, except in areas of unbroken forest or the high arctic. It is legally protected in Canada, Mexico and the United
   States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This hawk soars very high in the sky, hunting for food. They have excellent eyesight which
   is much sharper than a human's. A Red-tailed Hawk can spot a mouse from a height of 100 feet. These hawks also hunt from perches,
   usually alongside a field. Most of their prey are small mammals, including: mice, voles, shrews, moles, squirrels, chipmunks, rats,
   rabbits, opossums, muskrats, cats, skunks, and bats.
                          (Cornell  ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Red-shouldered Hawk


First Year Red-shouldered Hawk At Barnegat Light SP, NJ, 2012

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk At Heinz Tinicum, PA 2013

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, Nockamixon SP, PA, 2014


Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk At Brigantine,NJ, 2014

A Pale Red-shouldered Hawk At Hobe Sound NWR, Florida, 2013

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
Green Lane, March 2015

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
Green Lane, March 2015

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk, Nockamixon SP, PA, 2015

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk Flies, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2015

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk In Tree Near Route 1, Smyrna, DE, 2015

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2015

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk In Bombay Hook NWR Tree, DE, 2015

 Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk Takes Off, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2015

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk Spreads It Wings
In The Snow At Souderton, PA 2016

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk Does A
Wing-Lift At Bombay Hook NWR, 2016


Adult Red-shouldered Hawk Flies, Pine Barrons, NJ, 2016

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk Poses
Near Gull Tower, Brigantine, NJ, 2016
 

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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Red-shoulderedHawk, DE

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      The Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) is a medium-sized hawk. Its breeding range spans
      eastern North America and along the coast of California to north-eastern-central Mexico. The
      Red-shouldered Hawk is divided into five subspecies. The four eastern forms contact each other,
      but the West Coast form is separated from the eastern forms by over 1000 miles. The northern
      form is the largest. The form in southern Florida is the palest, having a grayish head and very faint
      barring on the chest. Males of all subspecies are 17 to 23 inches long and weigh ~1.2 lbs with a
      wingspan of 38 inches. Females are slightly larger at 19 to 24 inches in length with a weight of
      about 2.0 lbs, and a wingspan of about 41 inches. Adults have brownish heads, reddish chests, and
      pale bellies with reddish bars. Their tails, which are very long by Buteo standards, are marked with
      narrow white bars. Red "shoulders" are visible when the birds are perched. These hawks' upper
      parts are dark with pale spots and they have long yellow legs. Western birds may appear more red,
      while Florida birds are generally paler. The wings of adults are more heavily barred on the upper
      side. The breeding habitat of the Red-shouldered Hawk includes both deciduous and mixed wooded
      areas, often near water. While establishing territories, this bird's distinctive, screaming "
kee-aah ca"
      (usually repeated three to four times) can be heard. The breeding pair builds a nest made of sticks
      in a major fork of a large tree. The clutch size is usually three to four eggs. The incubation period
      can range from 28 to 33 days. The hatchlings, 1.2 oz at first, are brooded for up to 40 days. The
      young leave the nest at about six weeks of age but remain dependent on the parents until the are 17
      to 19 weeks old. The clearing of forests during the past two centuries has probably led to a decrease
      in the numbers of Red-shouldered Hawks in some areas, while at the same time providing more
      habitat for the Red-tailed Hawk. Fortunately, however, the total population still appears stable.
                                         
(Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Rough-legged Hawk


Adult Dark Morph Rough-legged
Hawk, Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2008

Adult Light Morph Rough-legged Hawk, Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2013

Juvenile Light Morph Rough-legged Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014  


Dark Morph Rough-legged Hawk, Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2013
 
Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014


Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014

Juvenile Light Morph Rough-legged Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014
 

Juvenile Light Morph Rough-legged Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014
 
Juvenile Light Morph Rough-legged Hawk
Does Wing-Lift, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014
 

Light Morph Rough-legged Hawk, Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2013

Light-morph Rough-legged Hawk, Collegeville, PA, 2015
 

Light-morph Rough-legged Hawk, Collegeville, PA, 2015
 
Light-morph Rough-legged Hawk Hovers, Collegeville, PA, 2015

Light-morph Rough-legged Hawk Poses In A Cedar, Collegeville, PA, 2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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DarkMorphRough-leggedHawk, NJ

NorthernRough-leggedHawk, PA

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      The Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) is a medium-large bird of prey. The name "Rough-legged" refers to their feathered legs.
      
It is 18-24 inches in length with a wingspan of 47  to 60 inches. It is found in the Arctic and Taiga regions of North America and
      Eurasia during the breeding season (nests are typically located on cliffs, bluffs or in trees).
Rough-legged Hawks occurring in
      North America migrate to the central United States for the winter, while Eurasian individuals migrate to southern Europe and
      Asia. It is the only member of its diverse genus found in both of the Northern continents and has a complete circumpolar
      distribution. During these winter months, from November to March, preferred habitats include marshes, prairies and agricultural
      regions where rodent prey is most abundant.
The plumage is predominantly brown in color and often shows a high degree of
      speckling. A wide variety of plumage patterns are exhibited in light vs. dark morphs, males vs. females and adults vs. juveniles.
      This species is carnivorous, typically feeding on small mammals, which make up 62–98% of its diet. Lemmings and voles are the
      major prey items of this species, seasonally comprising up to 80–90% of their prey, but this varies with seasonal availability.
      Some evidence suggests that these hawks may be able to see vole scent marks which are only visible in the ultraviolet range,
      allowing them to zero in on prey.
The Rough-legged Hawk will also supplement its diet with mice, rats, gerbils and insects. Besides
      mammals, birds are the second most favored type of prey for Rough-legged Hawks. Most avian prey species are small passerines
      such as Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs and the American Tree Sparrow. However, they will also prey on birds slightly larger
      than the passerines typically targeted, especially Ptarmigan as well as waterfowl,  shorebirds and Short-eared Owls.
Along with the
      Kestrels, Kites and Ospreys, this is one of the few birds of prey to hover regularly.     
 

                                                           (Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Swainson's Hawk

Light Morph Swainson's Hawk, Cape May, NJ, 2014
 
Dark Morph Swainson's Hawk, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2010


Light Morph Swainson's Hawk, Near Fowler's Beach, DE, 2014

 Light Morph Swainson's Hawk. Cape May, NJ, 2015

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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Swainson's Hawk, NJ

Swainson's Hawk, DE

Swainson's Hawk, DE

Swainson's Hawk, DE

Swainson's Hawk, NJ

 

     The Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) is a slender bird of prey with a relatively long tail and pointed wings.
     It is 19 inches long with a 51 inch wingspan. This prairie buteo lives in the western part of the United States and
     Canada, where it hunts insects and small mammals in grassland. Our particular extralimital visitor is an
     "intermediate morph" juvenile. It has been seen running around this past week hunting grasshoppers in a newly
     harvested soybean field near Fowler's Beach. The Swainson's Hawk is our longest distance migrating raptor. It
     flies from its breeding grounds in North America to winter in the South American Pampas of southern Brazil or
     Argentina. Each migration can last two months or more and can be as much as 14,000 miles long.

                                                       
(Cornell ;Wikipedia; Sibley's Guide To Birds)

 

Harris's Hawk

 


Juvenile Harris's Hawk, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2013

      The Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) is a medium-large bird of prey that breeds from the southwestern United States
      south to Chile and central Argentina. The Harris's Hawk is notable for its behavior of hunting cooperatively in packs
      of two or three. while most other raptors hunt alone. The hawks surround their prey, flush it for another to catch, or take turns
      chasing it. This medium-large hawk is roughly intermediate in size between a Peregrine Falcon and a Red-tailed Hawk. Harris's
      Hawks range in length from 18 to 23 inches and generally have a wingspan of about 41 to 47 inches. Their diet consists of small
      creatures including birds, lizards, mammals and large insects. Because it often hunts in groups, the Harris's Hawk can also take
      down larger prey.
 
Although not particularly common, it may take prey weighing over 4 and a half pounds, such as adult Jack
      Rabbits, Great Blue Herons and half-grown Wild Turkeys. Undoubtedly because it pursues large prey often, this hawk has larger
      and stronger feet, with long talons, and a larger, more prominent hooked beak than most other raptors its size.

                                                    (Cornell ;Wikipedia; Sibley's Guide To Birds)

 

Broad-winged Hawk

 
Broad-winged Hawk, Brigantine, NJ, 2014


Broad-winged Hawk, Nockamixon SP, PA, 2013


Broad-winged Hawk, Brigantine, NJ, 2014

     The  Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platyterus) is a  relatively small Buteo about 13 to 17 inches in length and weighing between 9.3 to
     19.8 ounces. Its tail is relatively short, measuring between 5.7–7.5 inches in length. As in most raptors, the females are slightly larger
     than the males. Broad-winged Hawks' wings are relatively short and broad with a tapered, somewhat pointed appearance.
Their
     wingspan can range from 29 to 39 inches, and their the extended wing bone measures between 8.9–11.8 inches wide.
During the summer
     some subspecies are distributed over eastern North America, as far west as British Columbia and Texas; they then migrate south to
     winter in the neotropics from Mexico down to southern Brazil There are two types of coloration: a dark morph with fewer white areas
     and a light morph that is paler overall. Broad-winged Hawks have a wide range in North America and South America, from
     southern Canada to southern Brazil. Their breeding range is in the northern and eastern parts of North America and some, not all,
     migrate in the winter to Florida, southern Mexico and northern South America. There are five subspecies that are endemic to the
     Caribbean that do not migrate. Thus, Broad-winged Hawks are partial migrants. Those subspecies that do migrate, however, will fly in
     flocks of more than forty up to hundreds of thousands at heights anywhere from 1800 to 3700 feet. They soar using thermals to carry
     them through their journey of 2000 to 4000 miles. Fall migration lasts for ~ 70 days as birds travel about 65 miles per day from North
     America, through Central America to South America without crossing salt water.
 These enormous flocks of soaring Broad-winged
     Hawks are called kettles and are characteristic of many hawk migration spectacles in North America, such as at Hawk Cliff in Ontario,
     Canada, Hawk Ridge in Minnesota, Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, and the River of Raptors in Veracruz. Broad-winged Hawks stay
     in areas up to an elevation of about 6,000 feet. They breed in deciduous forests good for nesting and forage primarily in wetlands and
     meadows. While some birds have acclimatized themselves to living near humans even those birds avoid human settlements and
     interactions. In the winter, the migrating subspecies of the hawks seek out similar conditions to their overwintering home, so they settle
     in deciduous and mixed forests.
 Broad-winged Hawks are carnivores. The types of food they eat depends on the time of  year. During
     the summer or nesting season the parents and ultimately their chicks will eat small mammals, such as chipmunks, shrews and voles,
     frogs, lizards, and sometimes even other nesting birds. In the winter months, Broad-winged Hawks have been observed feeding on
     insects, frogs, snakes, crabs and some small mammals. To catch their prey Broad-winged Hawks will watch from low branches hiding
     in the foliage until a target is spotted. From their roost they will do a short fast glide to capture the
 
prey. They give special attention to
     preparing their food for consumption, skinning frogs and snakes and plucking prey birds' feathers. Most small mammals will be eaten
     whole. Broad-winged Hawks rarely drink water and are able to survive solely with the water present in their prey.
                                                            
  
(Cornell ; Wikipedia; The Sibley Guide To Birds)

Cooper's Hawk

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2010

Adult Cooper's Hawk, Heislerville WMA, NJ, 2014

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk Smith's Maple Knoll Farms, PA, 2013

Adult Cooper's Hawk, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk, Cape May, NJ, 2013
 
Cooper's Hawk, Peace Valley Park Bird Blind, PA, 2013


Cooper's Hawk, Peace Valley Park , PA, 2015

First Year Cooper's Hawk Near Jen's Trail, Brigantine NWR, NJ, 2015

 
First Year Cooper's Hawk With Tail Spread, Peace Valley Park Bird Blind , PA, 2016

  
First Year Cooper's Hawk, Peace Valley Park Bird Blind , PA, 2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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Cooper'sHawk, PA

Cooper'sHawk, PA

Cooper'sHawk, PA

Cooper'sHawk, NJ

 

  

    The Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized hawk native to the North American continent and found from Southern
    Canada to Northern Mexico. As in many birds of prey, the male is smaller than the female. The average size of an adult male
    ranges from 7.8 to 15.5 ounces, with a length between 14 and 18 inches. Adults have red eyes and have a black cap, with blue-gray
    upper parts and white underparts with fine, thin, reddish bars. Their tail is blue-gray on top and pale underneath, barred with
    black bands. Juveniles have yellow eyes and have a brown cap, with brown upper parts and pale underparts with thin black streaks
    mostly ending at the belly. Their tail is brown on top and pale underneath, barred with dark bands. The eyes of this hawk, as in
    most predatory birds, face forward, enabling good depth perception for hunting and catching prey while flying at top speeds. They
    have hooked bills that are well adapted for tearing flesh of prey. These birds capture prey from cover or while flying quickly
    through dense vegetation, relying almost totally on surprise. Cooper's Hawks prey almost exclusively on small to mid-sized birds.
    Typical prey species include American Robins, other thrushes, jays, woodpeckers, European Starlings, pigeons and doves They
    have been known to rob nests and may supplement their diet with small mammals such as chipmunks, rabbits, mice, squirrels
    and bats. Even more rarely, they may predate on lizards, frogs or snakes. It normally catches its prey with its feet and kills it by
    repeatedly squeezing it and holding it away from its body until it dies. They have also been seen drowning their prey, holding it
    underwater until it stops moving. These hawks often pluck the feathers off their prey on a post or other perch. They also hunt
    songbirds at backyard feeders, perching nearby then swooping down and scattering the birds to single one out in flight.
                                                          (Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Sharp-shinned Hawk


Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk Stretches At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2012


Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk Does A
Wing Spread, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2012


Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014


Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk At Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014


Sharp-shinned Hawk Flies Over At Brigantine, NJ, 2014
 
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014


Sharp-shinned Hawk In The Peace Valley Park Bird Blind, PA, 2013

Sharp-shinned Hawk At Bake Oven Knob, 2014

Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk At Nockamixon SP, 2015

Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk At Peace Valley Park,  PA, 2016

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk At Peace Valley Park,  PA, 2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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Sharp-shinned Hawk, PA

JuvenileSharp-shinnedHawk, DE

Sharp-shinnedHawk, PA

Sharp-shinnedHawk, PA

Adult Sharp-shinnedHawk,PA

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Sharp-shinnedHawk PA

 

 

 

 

 

    The Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) is a small hawk ( 11 inches long;  23 inch wingspan) and a regular visitor
    to bird feeders, where it eats birds, not seed. The male and female show a greater disparity in size than any other
    American hawk; the female is nearly twice the weight of the male. The nominate (
A. s. striatus) group is widespread
    in North America, occurring throughout a large part of USA and Canada, except in the ice-covered regions of the far
    north. Populations in the northern part of the range migrate south and spend the non-breeding season (winter) in
    southern USA, Mexico and Central America as far south as Panama, with a smaller number spending the winter in
    the Greater Antilles. Resident populations exist in temperate parts of  the USA, Canada (in a few coastal regions),
    Mexico (in the highlands from Sonora to Oaxaca), Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.
These birds surprise and
    capture all their prey from cover or while flying quickly through thick vegetation. They are adept at navigating dense
    thickets. The great majority of this hawk's prey is small birds, especially various songbirds such as sparrows,
    wood-warblers and American Robins. Birds caught have ranged from a 4.4 gram Anna's Hummingbird to a 1 1/4
    pound Ruffed Grouse and any bird within this size range is potential prey. Typically, males will target smaller birds,
    such as sparrows, and females will pursue larger prey, such as American Robins and Flickers. They often pluck the
    feathers off their prey on a post or other perch. Rarely, Sharp-shinned Hawks will also eat rodents, lizards, frogs,
    snakes and large insects.                                     
(Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Northern Harrier


Juvenile Northern Harrier Hovering At Brigantine, NJ, 2012

 
Northern Harrier Coursing At Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Juvenile Northern Harrier At Brigantine, NJ, 2013

 Juvenile Northern Harrier At Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Male Northern Harrier (Gray Ghost), Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2013


Female Northern Harrier Hiding In The Bombay Hook NWR Grass, DE, 2013

Juvenile Northern Harrier, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014

Female Northern Harrier At Brigantine, NJ, 2014


Male Northern Harrier (Gray Ghost) At Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2013

Northern Harrier Hiding In The Reeds At Brigantine, NJ. 2015

 Female Northern Harrier At Brigantine, 2015

 Female Northern Harrier At Bombay Hook NWR, 2016

Northern Harrier Courses Over The Phrag At Brigantine, NJ, 2016

 Northern Harrier Near Gull Tower At Brigantine, NJ, 2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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NorthernHarrier, NJ

NorthernHarrier, NJ

NorthernHarrier

NorthernHarrierMale, DE

 

  

      The Northern Harrier or Marsh Hawk (Circus cyaneus) is a bird of prey. It breeds throughout the northern parts of the northern hemisphere
      in Canada and the northernmost USA, and in northern Eurasia. It migrates to more southerly areas in winter. Eurasian birds move to southern
      Europe and southern temperate Asia, and American breeders to the southernmost USA, Mexico, and Central America. In the mildest regions,
      such as France, Great Britain, and the southern US, Northern Harriers may be present all year. The Northern Harrier is 16 to 20 inches long
      with a 38 to 48 inch wingspan.
Males and females have distinct plumages. The sexes also differ in weight, with males weighing 10 to 14 ounces
      and females weighing 14 to 26 ounces. It is relatively long winged and long tailed, having the longest wing and tail relative to its body size of
      any raptor occurring in North America. The males are mainly gray above and white below except for the upper breast, which is gray like the
      upperparts, and the rump, which is white; the wings are gray with black wingtips.
 The female is brown above with white upper tail coverts
      (white rump) and their underparts buff streaked with brown.
 The Harrier hunts with its long wings held in a shallow V in its low flight during
      which it closely hugs the contours of the land below them. Northern Harriers hunt primarily small mammals. Preferred prey species can include
      voles, rats, mice and ground squirrels. However
 
birds are also hunted with some regularity as well, especially by males. Preferred avian prey
      include passerines of open country (i.e. sparrows, larks, and pipits), small shorebirds and the young of waterfowl. They will supplement their
      diet occasionally with frogs and small reptiles. Larger prey, such as rabbits and adult ducks are taken sometimes and Harriers have been known
      to subdue these by drowning them underwater.
 Harriers hunt by surprising  prey while flying low to the ground in open areas, as they drift low
      over fields and marshes The Harriers circle an area several times listening and looking for prey.   Harriers use hearing regularly to find prey, as
      they have exceptionally good hearing for diurnal raptors, this being the function of their owl-like facial disc.
                                                
     (Cornell ; Wikipedia; The Sibley Guide To Birds)

 

Osprey

 
Male Osprey Brings Fish To The Nest At Port Mahon, DE, 2014


Juvenile Osprey With Fish At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2013

Adult Osprey With A Fish At Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Osprey Challenges Me, Port Mahon Ditch, DE, 2014

Osprey With Nest Branch, Avalon Seawall, NJ, 2014

Juvenile Osprey Hovers, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2014

First Year Osprey In A Tree At Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Adult Osprey At Port Mahon, DE, 2014
,
Adult Osprey Hovering At Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Osprey Chicks In Nest At Brigantine, 2015

Osprey Hovers At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2015
 

Osprey Perched Near South Dike At Brig, 2015

Osprey Challenges Juvenile Bald Eagle Near Raymond, Bombay Hook NWR, 2015

Ossprey Flies Overhead At Port Mahon Ditch, Leipsic, DE, 2015

Osprey Flies By At The Chapman Road
 Bridge, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2016


And Then Turns And Flies Over  Us On The
Chapman Road Bridge At Peace Valley Park, PA, 2016
 
First Year Osprey Poses Near East Dike, Brigantine, NJ, 2016

Two First Year Osprey Chicks On Nesting Platform, Brigantine, NJ, 2016
 

An Adult Osprey Flies By Near East Dike, Brigantine, NJ, 2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click On Either The Thumbnail Or The Caption...Thanks!

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Osprey, DE

OspreyWithFish, DE

Osprey, PA

Osprey, NJ

Osprey, NJ

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Osprey, DE

 

 

 

 

 

       The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the Fish Eagle or Fish Hawk,  is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey.
       It is a large raptor, reaching more than 24 inches in length with a wingspan of 71 inches. Ospreys weigh from 2.0 to 5.0
       pounds. It is brown on the upper parts and predominantly grayish and white on the head and underparts. The Osprey
       tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It
       is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant. As
       its other common name suggests, the Osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialized physical
       characteristics and exhibits unique behavior to assist in hunting and catching prey. As a result of these unique
       characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus,
Pandion.
Osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer
       toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful to
       the Ospreys when they grab slippery fish.  Ospreys have vision that is well adapted to detecting underwater objects
       from the air. Prey is first sighted when the Osprey is 33 to 131 feet above the water, after which the bird hovers
       momentarily before it plunges feet first into the water.
Ospreys usually mate for life. European breeders winter in
       Africa. American and Canadian breeders winter in South America, although some stay in the southernmost states like
       Florida and California. Australasian Ospreys tend not to migrate. An important note...because of the banning of DDT
       in many countries in the early 1970's, together with reduced persecution, have resulted in the Osprey, as well as other
       affected birds of prey species, making significant recoveries.                
(Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Black Vulture


Black Vulture In Nature Center Tree At
Peace Valley Park, New Britain, PA, 2013


Black Vulture In Harleysville, PA, 2014

Two Black Vultures Roosting Near Bombay Hook, DE, 2014

Black Vulture At Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2013

Black Vulture, Harleysville, PA 2014

Black And Turkey Vultures Roosting Together, Harleysville, PA, 2015

Black Vulture Flies Over At Harleysville, PA 2016

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  Please Click
On The Caption...Thanks!


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BlackVulture, DE

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BlackVulture,PA

 

 

 

       The Black Vulture or American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) is a bird whose range extends from the southeastern
       United States to South America. It reaches a length of 28 inches, a weight of 5 pounds, with a wing span of 5 1/2 feet. It has
       a somewhat more restricted distribution than its compatriot, the Turkey Vulture which breeds well into Canada and south
       to Tierra del Fuego. Despite the similar name and appearance, this species is unrelated to the Eurasian Black Vulture. The
       Eurasian Black Vulture is an Old World Vulture in the family Accipitridae which includes eagles, hawks, kites and harriers.
       The American Black Vulture species is a New World Vulture unrelated to the eagles and hawks. It is the only extant member
       of the genus Coragyps, which is in the family Cathartidae. It inhabits relatively open areas which provide scattered forests
       or shrublands. With a wingspan of five feet, the Black Vulture is a large bird though relatively small for a vulture. It has
       black plumage, a featherless, grayish-black head and neck, and a short, hooked beak. The Black Vulture is a scavenger and
       feeds on carrion but  it will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage
       dumps. It finds its meals either by using its keen eyesight or by following Turkey Vultures which possess a keen sense of smell.
       The Black Vulture lacks a  syrinx…the vocal organ of birds. Its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It lays its eggs in
       caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, and generally raises two chicks each year, which it feeds by regurgitation.
 In the
       United States, both vultures receive legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  The California Condor,
       now almost extinct, is the third member of the Cathartidae Family, referred to as the American Vultures. Vultures are truly
       the masters of the thermal. They have been known to glide eight miles without flapping their wings. I love watching them
       soar above us because they are so very beautiful in flight. Vultures are non-aggressive and harmless to man. As a matter
       of fact, vultures provide tremendous economic value by cleaning up carrion and road kills,  not only saving the taxpayer lots
       of money, but, in addition, removing serious health hazards.
             (Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Turkey Vulture


Turkey Vulture In Bombay Hook NWR Field, DE, 2013


Turkey Vulture, Harleysville, PA 2014

Turkey Vultures On A Roof Near Taylor's Gut, DE, 2014

Turkey Vulture Flies Over, Brigantine, NJ, 2014
 
Turkey Vultures Roosting At Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014

Turkey Vulture, Harleysville, PA, 2014

Turkey Vulture Flies Over At Brigantine, NJ, 2013

Turkey Vulture Poses Near Finis Pool, Bombay Hook NWR, DE,  2016
 

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TurkeyVulture, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

       The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is one of North America's largest birds of prey. It reaches a length of 32 inches, a
        weight of 5 1/2 pounds, with a wing span of 6 feet. Its overall color is brown-black with a featherless, red head, white bill
        and yellow feet among mature adults. Immature birds have a darker face. Although usually silent, the bird will occasionally
        emit a soft hiss or groan. In flight, the Turkey Vulture rocks from side to side, rarely flapping its wings which are held at a
        V-angle called a dihedral. Silver-gray flight feathers look lighter than the black lining feathers of the underwing. Its long
        tail extends beyond its legs and feet in flight. Vultures are best known for their practice of feeding on dead animal carcasses,
        but will occasionally attack young and helpless animals as well. They obtain much of their water from the moisture of carrion
        and their powerful kidneys enable them to excrete less water when expelling waste products. Turkey Vultures, like other
        carrion birds, are protected from disease associated with decaying animals by a very sophisticated immune system. Their
        unfeathered "bald" head is easy to keep clean and is characteristic of vultures and condors throughout the world. One
        three blotched eggs are laid in hollows, logs or among rocks on the ground; no nest is built. Both parents participate in
        incubation of the eggs for up to a month. Newly hatched young are fed with regurgitated food for the first few days and fly
        from the nest within 10 weeks. Unlike most birds, Turkey Vultures have a keen sense of smell. The Turkey Vulture's olfactory
        sense is estimated to be 3 times that of the smaller Black Vulture, which is also found here in Pennsylvania.
                                                                                  
               (Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Great Horned Owl

 
Adult Great Horned Owl In Shep Jones Lane Field, Stony Brook, NY, 1996

Great Horned Owlets In The Nest, Bucks County, PA, 2014

Great Horned Owlet Out Of The Nest, Bucks County, PA, 2014


Great Horned Owlet At Oaks Audubon Center, PA, 2013
 
 Great Gray Owl, Katmai National Park, Alaska, 2014

Spotted Owls, Skagit River Forest, Washington, 2014

Short-eared Owl


Short-eared Owl At Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2013

 Short-eared Owl Flies At Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2014

Short-eared Owl At Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Short-eared Owl At Brigantine, 2013


Short-eared Owl At Oberly Road WMA, NJ, 2014

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Short-earedOwl, NJ

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Short-earedOwl, NJ

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Short-earedOwl, NJ

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Short-earedOwl, NJ

 

    The Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) is a medium-sized owl averaging 13 to 17 inches in length and weighing
    11 to 13 ounces. It has large eyes, big head, short neck, and broad wings. Its bill is short, strong, hooked and
    black. Its plumage is mottled tawny to brown with a barred tail and wings. The upper breast is significantly
    streaked.  Wingspans range from 38 to 44 inches. Females are slightly larger than males. The yellow-orange eyes
    of
the Short-eared Owls are exaggerated by black rings encircling each eye, giving the appearance of them wearing
    mascara and large, whitish disks of plumage surrounding the eyes like a mask. The Short-eared Owl occurs on all
    continents except Antarctica and Australia; thus it has one of the largest distributions of any bird.
The Short-eared
    Owl
breeds in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Galápagos Islands. It is
    partially migratory, moving south in winter from the northern parts of its range. The Short-eared Owl is known to
    relocate to areas of higher rodent populations. It will also wander nomadically in search of better food supplies
    during years when vole populations are low.               
(Cornell ; Wikipedia; The Sibley Guide To Birds)

Northern Saw-whet Owl


Scott Weidensaul Holding Newly Banded
Northern Saw-whet Owl, Schuykill, PA, 2010


Northern Saw-whet Owl, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2013
 
Northern Saw-whet Owl, Nockamixon SP, PA, 2014


Northern Saw-whet Owl, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2013

       Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) are found only in North America. Their breeding range includes southern Alaska, 
       southern Canada, most of the United States and some high elevation sites in central Mexico.They inhabit woodlands of all types
       throughout their range. Though they seem to be most abundant in coniferous forests, they are also common in deciduous and
       mixed conifer-deciduous forests. During migration and winter, Saw-whet owls inhabit a wide variety of habitats over a range of
       altitudes and latitudes. They may be found in rural or even suburban environments. The primary habitat requirements seem to
       be perches for hunting and dense vegetation for roosting. Northern Saw-whet Owls are the smallest owls in eastern North
       America. At approximately 2.5 ounces males weigh about as much as an American Robin. Females weigh slightly more, at
       about 3.5 ounces. The body lengths of males and females are 7 to 8 inches and 8 to 8.5 inches respectively. The wingspan of
       an adult ranges from 18 to 24 inches. Northern Saw-whets have dark-colored bills, eyes with yellow-pigmented irises, heavily
       feathered legs and feet, a tail with three bars, and a wide, reddish-brown body with white streaks on the abdomen. Their large,
       round heads are reddish brown to brown, have a large, grayish facial disk in the center and are streaked with white on the top.
       The neck is speckled with white. Northern Saw-whet Owls depend on this plumage for camouflage while roosting and hunting.
       Male and female Saw-whet Owls are similar in appearance, though females are slightly larger than males. Juveniles are
       chocolate-brown with a pattern of large white spots above their bills that extend over their eyes. In the wild, the average
       lifespan of a Northern Saw-whet Owl is 3.5 to 4 years, The record for a wild bird, however, is 16 years. Northern Saw-whet
       Owls are nocturnal. They are active at night, and roost silently in thick vegetation during the day. This species is also
       migratory. Though some individuals may stay in the same area year-round,  the majority of Northern Saw-whets move
       south in autumn. Northern Saw-whet Owls are solitary. They
hunt at night, from about 30 minutes after sunset to about
       30 minutes before sunrise. They hunt from a low perch, detecting prey by sight and sound. But Northern Saw-whet Owls
       also have excellent hearing; their asymmetrical skull allows them to locate prey using sound alone. When a prey item is
       located, the owl drops out of the perch onto the prey, capturing it with the talons. The prey is torn apart and eaten in
       pieces. Larger prey may be partially eaten and stored on a branch to eat over the course of several hours. The Northern
       Saw-whet Owl diet consists primarily of small mammals, particularly deer mice, voles, shrews, shrew-moles, pocket-mice,
       harvest mice, bog lemmings, heather voles, red tree voles, jumping mice and house mice. Juveniles of larger mammals,
       including
pocket-gophers, chipmunks and squirrels are occasionally taken, as are insects, such as beetles and grasshoppers.
       Small birds are also occasionally taken, primarily during migration when they are active at night.

                                                                  (Cornell ; Wikipedia; University of Michigan)

Screech Owl

 
Red Phase and Gray Phase Eastern Screech Owls In Peace Valley Park Boxes, PA, 2014
 
Western Screech Owl, AZ, 2013


Red Phase Eastern Screech Owl, PA, 2013

Red Phase Eastern Screech Owl, Bucks County, PA, 2016

    The Eastern Screech-Owl (Otus asio) has an average body length of 7 to 9 inches, a wingspan of 18 to 24 inches, and weighs
    5 to 9 ounces. The Eastern Screech-Owl is slightly smaller than the Western Screech-Owl. The Eastern Screech-Owl has a diet
    consisting mainly of insects, small mammals, birds, crayfish, and earthworms. Their hunting strategy is to survey prey from a
    perched position then swoop down to catch the prey, or forage while walking along the ground. The Eastern Screech-Owl is also
    known to eat a variety of songbirds, including the European Starling. Despite this fact, the starling regularly displaces the owl
    from nesting sites and takes over the hole to raise its own brood. The Eastern Screech-Owl nests in natural tree cavities, old
    woodpecker holes, or man-made nest boxes. The female lays 3 - 7 eggs that are incubated for 26
days. Both parents feed the
    young owls. The owlets will leave the nest in about 25 - 27 days, but will be tended by the parents for another 5 - 6 weeks.
    Screech-Owls can reproduce at 1 year of age. Red and gray individuals occur across the range of the Eastern Screech-Owl,
    with about one-third of all individuals being red. Rufous owls are more common in the East, with fewer than 15% red at the
    western edge of the range. No red owls are known from southern Texas, although they occur further north in Texas and further
    south in Mexico. Intermediate brownish individuals also occur in most populations.

                                                              (Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Long-eared Owl


Long-eared Owl, PA, 2014
 
Long-eared Owl . DE. 2013

Long-eared Owl, PA, 2013

Long-eared Owl, Nockamixon SP, PA, 2016

Burrowing Owl

 
Burrowing Owl, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2013


Burrowing Owls, Hobe Sound NWR, FL, 2014

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  
Please Click On The Caption...Thanks!

 

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BurrowingOwl, Texas

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BurrowingOwl, Texas

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BurrowingOwls, FL

 

 

Barred Owl


Barred Owl, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014


Barred Owl, Nockamixon SP, PA, 2013

Snowy Owl



Snowy Owl, Souderton, PA 2014


Snowy Owl, Brigantine, NJ, 2014


Snowy Owl, Davisville, PA, 2014

 Snowy Owl Near South Dike,  Brigantine, NJ, 2015

 Snowy Owl Near South Dike, Brigantine, NJ, 2015
 

To See A Larger Image Of Any Of The Photos Below,  
Please Click On The Caption...Thanks!

 

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SnowyOwl, PA

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SnowyOwl,PA

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SnowyOwl, PA

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SnowyOwl, PA

 

 

      The Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a large owl of the family Strigidae. This yellow-eyed, black-beaked white bird is
      easily recognizable. It is 20 to 28 inches long, with a 49 to 59 inch wingspan. Thick feathers for insulation from Arctic
      cold make Snowy Owls North America’s heaviest owl, typically weighing about 4 pounds—one pound heavier than a
      Great Horned Owl and twice the weight of a Great Gray Owl (North America’s tallest owl). The Snowy Owl shows
      up irregularly in winter to hunt in windswept fields or dunes. They nest in the Arctic tundra of the northernmost
      stretches of Alaska, Canada and Eurasia. They winter south through Canada and northern Eurasia, with irruptions
      occurring further south in some years. Snowy Owls are attracted to open areas like coastal dunes and prairies that
      appear somewhat similar to tundra. They have been reported as far south as the American states of
 Texas, Georgia,
      the American Gulf states, southernmost Russia, and northern China. They spend summers far north of the Arctic
      Circle hunting lemmings, ptarmigan, and other prey in 24-hour daylight. In years of lemming population booms
      they can raise double or triple the usual number of young. Because Snowy Owls are irruptive, they only appear in
      our area in some winters but not in others. Unlike most owls, Snowy Owls are diurnal, extremely so. They’ll hunt at
      all hours mainly eating small mammals, particularly lemmings, which at times on the tundra may be all these birds
      eat. Sometimes they’ll switch to ptarmigan and waterfowl. Snowy Owls are also one of the most agile owls, able to
      catch small birds on the fly. On both their breeding and wintering grounds, their diet can also range widely to
      include rodents, rabbits, hares, squirrels, weasels, wading birds, seabirds, ducks, grebes, and geese. The Snowy Owl
      female builds the nest, scraping out a shallow hollow on the bare ground and shaping it by pressing her body into
      the depression. The process takes a few days, and the owls may reuse the nest site for many years.
                                                                      
    (Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Crested Caracara 


Juvenile Crested Caracara At The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2007


Adult Crested Caracara At The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2007

Juvenile Crested Caracara At The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2007

      The Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) is a bird of prey in the family Falconidae. Unlike the Falco falcons in the same family, the
      Caracaras are not fast-flying aerial hunters, but are rather sluggish and often scavengers. The Crested Caracara is a resident in Cuba,
      northern South America (southward to northern Peru and northern Brazil and most of Central America and Mexico, just reaching the
      southernmost parts of the United States. This is a bird of open and semi-open country. The Crested Caracara has a length of 19 to 23 
      inches, a wingspan of 42 to 51 inches and a weight of 2 to 3 pounds. Broad-winged and long-tailed, it also has long legs and frequently
      walks or runs on the ground. It is very cross-shaped in flight. The adult has a black body, wings, crest and crown. The neck, rump, and
      conspicuous wing patches are white, and the tail is white with black barring and a broad terminal band. The breast is white, finely
      barred with black. The bill is thick, gray and hooked, and the legs are yellow. The cere and facial skin are deep yellow to orange-red
      depending on age and mood. Sexes are similar, but immature birds are browner, have a buff neck and throat, a pale breast
      streaked/mottled with brown, grayish-white legs and grayish or dull pinkish-purple facial skin and cere. The Crested Caracara is a
      carnivorous scavenger that mainly feeds on carrion.. The live prey they do catch is usually immobile, injured, incapacitated or young.
      Prey species can include small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, crabs, insects, earthworms and young birds. Bird species that are
      culled can range from large, colonial nesting birds such as storks and herons to small passerines. This species is one of few raptors that
      hunts on foot, often turning over branches and cow dung to reach food. In addition to hunting its own food on the ground, the Crested
      Caracara will steal from other birds, including vultures, Buteos, pelicans, ibises and spoonbills.
                                                                 
     (Cornell ; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds) 

American Kestrel


Female American Kestrel, Hobe Sound NWR, FL, 2014


Male American Kestrel, Brigantine, NJ, 2013


Female American Kestrel, Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014

Adult Male Kestrel, Peace Valley Park, PA, 2013

Female American Kestrel, Hobe Sound NWR, FL, 2014


Male American Kestrel, Bucks, PA, 2014

 Male American Kestrel, Bucks, PA, 2015

 American Kestrel Portrait At Brigantine, NJ, 2016

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MaleAmericanKestrel, PA

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MaleAmericanKestrel, NJ

 

 

 

 

     The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), sometimes colloquially known as the sparrow hawk, is a small falcon,
      and the only Kestrel found in the Americas. It is the most common falcon in North America, and is found in a
      wide variety of habitats. The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America and, under traditional
      classification, is the smallest raptor in America.  The American Kestrel is sexually dimorphic, although there is
      some overlap inplumage coloration between the sexes. The bird ranges from 4 to 10 inches in
length with a
      wingspan of  20 to 24 inches.
 TheAmerican Kestrel hunts by hovering in the air with rapid wing beats or perching
      and scanning the ground for prey. Its diet typically consists of grasshoppers, lizards, mice and small birds, e.g.
      sparrows. It nests in cavities in trees and on cliffs, buildings, and other structures. The female lays three to seven
      eggs, which both sexes help to incubate. Its breeding range extends from central and western Alaska across
      northern Canada to Nova Scotia and south throughout North America, into central Mexico and the Caribbean.
      It is a local breeder in Central America and is widely distributed throughout South America. Most birds breeding
      in Canada and the northern United States migrate south in the winter. It is an occasional vagrant to Western Europe.
                                                                  (Wikipedia; Cornell ; Sibley Guide To Birds)

 

Merlin


Merlin, Blue Marsh Lake, PA, 2014

Merlin, Brigantine, NJ, 2013

Merlin, Alagnak River, Alaska, 2014

Merlin, Brigantine, NJ, 2014

Merlin, Brigantine, NJ, 2014

 Merlin, Brigantine, NJ, 2015

Pacific Merlin Pair, Alagnak River, Alaska, 2015

Merlin At Blue Marsh Lake, PA, 2015

Merlin Flies Out Of Cedar, Broadkill Beach, DE, 2016


Merlin Portrait At Alagnak River, Alaska, 2014

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Merlin, NJ

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Merlin, NJ

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Merlin, PA

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Merlin, NJ

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Merlin, Alaska


 

     The Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small species of falcon of the Northern Hemisphere. Merlins are small and fierce hunters
that use surprise attacks to bring down small songbirds and shorebirds. They are powerful fliers, but you can tell them from
larger falcons by their rapid wingbeats and overall dark tones. Merlin populations have largely recovered from 20th century
declines, thanks to a ban on the pesticide DDT and their ability to adapt to life around towns and cities. The Merlin is 9 to 13.0
inches long with a 20 to 29 inch wingspan. Compared to other small falcons, it is more robust and heavily built. Sexual Dimorphism
is common among raptors; it allows males and females to hunt different prey animals and decreases the territory size needed to
feed a mated pair. Merlins rely on speed and agility to catch their prey. They often hunt by flying fast and low, typically less than
3 feet above the ground, using trees and large shrubs to take prey by surprise. But they actually capture most prey in the air, a
will "tail-chase" startled birds. Breeding pairs will frequently hunt cooperatively, with one bird flushing the prey toward its mate.
They have also been seen teaming up to hunt large flocks of Waxwings: one Merlin flushes the flock by attacking from below; the
other comes in moments later to take advantage of the confusion. Merlins breed in open and semiopen areas across northern North
America. The boreal subspecies usually nests near forested openings, in fragmented woodlots, near rivers, lakes, or bogs, and on lake
islands. The Pacific Northwest subspecies seems to nest mostly in coastal areas and along rivers. The prairie subspecies nests in
shrubs and trees along rivers and in small groves of deciduous trees planted as wind breaks. Merlins are increasingly breeding in
towns and cities, where they often take over crows' nests in conifers planted in residential areas, schoolyards, parks, and cemeteries.
During migration Merlins stop in grasslands, open forests, and coastal areas. They winter in similar habitat across the western
United States and southern United States, along the Pacific coast to Alaska, and along the Atlantic coast to southern New England.
Their wintering range extends south through Latin America as far as Ecuador. Common prey include Horned Lark, House Sparrow,
Dickcissel, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, and other shorebirds. Other prey include large insects such as dragonflies, bats caught at cave
openings, nestling birds, and small mammals.
(Cornell; Wikipedia; Sibley Guide To Birds)

Prairie Falcon


Extralimital Prairie Falcon, Cumberland County, PA, 2014

Peregrine Falcon


Peregrine Falcon, Brigantine, NJ, 2013


Peregrine Falcon Flies Over, Port Mahon, DE, 2013

Banded Peregrine FalconAt Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2013
 
Juvenile Peregrine Falcon At Bombay Hook NWR, DE, 2014


Juvenile Peregrine Falcon, Brigantine, NJ, 2013
 
Peregrine Falcon With Prey, At Brigantine, NJ, 2014


Female Peregrine Falcon At Tilbury Knob 2016

 Female Peregrine Falcon At Tilbury Knob 2016

Peregrine Falcon Portrait At Pennsylania Cliff, 2016

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PeregrineFalcon, NJ

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PeregrineFalcon, NJ

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PeregrineFalcon, PA

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PeregrineFalcon, DE

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PeregrineFalcon, DE


      Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) are formidable hunters that prey on other birds (and bats)
      in mid-flight. Peregrines hunt from above and, after sighting their prey, drop into a steep, swift
      dive that can top 200 miles an hour. This makes them the fastest members of the animal kingdom. 
        Although nowhere common, Peregrine Falcons are among the most widespread birds of prey and
      live on all continents except Antarctica. They prefer wide-open spaces, and thrive near coasts where
      shorebirds are common. But they can also be found everywhere from tundra to deserts. These birds
      may travel widely outside the nesting season—their name means "wanderer." Though some of them
      are permanent residents, many do migrate. Those that nest on Arctic tundra and winter in South
      America fly as many as 15,500 miles in a year. Yet, they have an incredible homing instinct that leads
      them back to favored aeries. Some nesting sites have been in continuous use for hundreds of years,
      occupied by successive generations of falcons. Fortunately, Peregrines are also now known to live on
      bridges and skyscrapers in major cities.             (Cornell ; Wikpedia and National Geographic)

 

Kites And Shrikes



White-tailed Kite At Barnegat Bay, NJ 2013

 White-tailed Kite At Barnegat Bay, NJ 2013

Swallow-tailed Kite, Fort Washington, PA, 2009

Swallow-tailed Kite, Fort Washington, PA, 2009

Loggerhead Shrike On A Pole At The
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2007


Loggerhead Shrike On A Wire At The
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Texas, 2007

 
Northern Shrike, Lehigh County, PA, 2010


 Northern Shrike, Lehigh County, PA, 2010

 

   © Howard B. Eskin 2016    Please email your comments to hbeskin@howardsview.com    Please click here to go back to Bird Webpage Index undefined