The Birds of Summer: Raptor Division

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Swainson's Hawk
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I’ve watched a female Cooper’s hawk come out of a cottonwood tree like a streak, fly 120 feet, and nail a Eurasian collared dove on the ground, then fly off with it. I’ve seen a kestrel playing tag with a crow for 15 minutes. A Roadrunner beat a house sparrow to a pulp in the tree outside my office window–that was to break all its bones to make swallowing the bird easier. Raptors are easily the most exciting birds in the South Valley! The Swainson’s Hawk, above, usually looks for rabbits, mice, and voles but I saw one eating a freshly-killed robin. It is the largest hawk in the South Valley and in the fall, it migrates to Argentina. Here are my other favorite raptors:

Kestrel in flight.

The only falcon that is regularly seen in the Valley is the American Kestrel, a strikingly beautiful raptor.

Cooper's Hawk

This Cooper’s hawk causes major song bird terror when it cruises through the neighborhood.

Is the Roadrunner a raptor? Well, it eats only meat, like lizards, snakes, and birds, so yes!

Is the Roadrunner a raptor? Well, it eats only meat, like lizards, snakes, and birds, so yes!