Here we will have pictures of Hawks, and things that look
like them, like Falcons or Kites, and some things that aren't
even closely related but vaguely resemble them, like the
local cleanup crew, the Utopia Air Force, Vultures.
It should be noted, that contrary to some local folklore,
most hawks and owls eat mostly snakes, mice, and rats, and therefore
you should consider them most beneficial to have around.
A couple hawks are grasshopper specialists, so also very beneficial.
Owls are better rat and mouse catchers than man or cat could ever be.
All birds of prey are "double protected" by federal law
which means your butt is going to be in a sling if you get caught
harming one. :P
Ken Cave took this great photo of an
immature or sub-adult Harris's Hawk.
Regular in the flatlands of the brush country.
THANKS for letting us share your beautiful photo Ken!
Red-tailed Hawk - the southwest U.S. (our) resident
race (subspecies fuertesi, the Fuertes' Red-tail after the
great American bird artist Louis Agazziz Fuertes) is the
cleanest white below of all the various types of
Red-tailed Hawks, with the same trademark red tail.
Red-shouldered Hawk - often seen around town or along river,
black and white barred tail and wings, rufous barred underneath
and rufous shoulders make it quite a stunning beauty,
if the screaming isn't enough. Big on mice and such
but also snakes, frogs, and other stuff. Usually along
Swainson's Hawk - "normal" lite morph
These are the ones that eat grasshoppers and grubs on
the ground in fields, and migrate in big flocks here.
Often they can be seen following the tractors in spring,
for pest grubs, which would be an expensive service to
pay for! :) White wing-linings and dark flight feathers.
Zone-tailed Hawk - our blackish buteo with a
white band on tail hunts over town daily spring and summer.
Also along ridges, and river corridor, and at Lost Maples.
Note it usually appears "one-banded" on tail.
Broad-winged Hawk - a small buteo and a rare
migrant here - note crisp black frame on pale
flight feathers on underwing.
Sharp-shinned Hawk Barely Robin sized, these feed primarily on small birds,
often at feeding stations, sparrow to Cardinal sized.
Merlin - a small fierce bird eating falcon
Prairie Falcon - a large pale falcon, quite rare here
Mississippi Kite - scarce but some pass through each year.
They are somewhat falcon shaped with pointed wings, but
unbelieveably bouyant and graceful in the air.
Bald Eagle - adult pair at the eagle roost on 1340 W. of Hunt
What can you say but WOW !?!
The winter roost is on the cliff face around the east end of
Boneyard (Draw) Crossing of the Guad. River, they are
visible from the road, bare eyed, better with binocs,
and very well with telescope.
American Kestrel is the only common true Falcon locally,
(and North America's smallest falcon) from fall to spring.
They take lots of grasshoppers, dragonflies, and mice.
Vultures (next 2 below) are not closely related to hawks, only vaguely
resembling them. They are allegedly according to the expert taxonomists,
really short billed and legged storks !!
Turkey Vulture - arrives in February,
mostly departs by November, but winters just off
the plateau in the brush country. Note the silvery flash
on the underwing runs the whole length on trailing edge.
Black Vulture - the Utopia Air Force
Some are resident in the valley, they are
slightly more cold tolerant than the Turkey Vulture.
Note the silvery white flash on underwing is only at tips.
Crested Caracara - a long time ago called Mexican Eagle,
however, not a true Eagle at all
They often scavenge with the vultures.
A pair will allopreen (mutually
preen each other, like parrots)
And now here are our two resident large owls,
Barred and Great Horned. Barred is only along
river corridor or pecan bottoms, Great Horned is
widespread. Barred has brown eyes and yellow bill.
Great Horned has yellow eyes and a black bill.
Barred Owl - The best squirrel, rat and mouse trap ever built.
Great Horned Owl - The other best squirrel, rat and mouse trap ever built.
They can even take skunks they are such tigers of the night sky.
This is a juvenile still with down, but able to fly.
It's horns aren't so great yet.
Eastern Screech-Owl - The only locally resident SMALL
owl is another world-class mouser. Mostly you just
hear their soft trilled calls. Actual screeching
owls are invariably begging young of the large owls,
Barred or Great Horned, or Barn Owls flying over at night.
Our Screech-Owls are likely the "Mexican"form or race,
and make some calls I have never heard from any other type of
Screech-Owl, begging the question, are they really
Eastern Screech-Owls? They do calls that would fool
the best experts into thinking there was a Saw-whet Owl
around, and a perfect Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl call too,
and I got chiggers 20 times to prove it.
(This is a falconer's bird in the photo)
Close this browser window to
return to Bird Photos main menu.