General Bird of Prey Discussion

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General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by alethe » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:49 pm

i couldn't find one of these that has been posted in for the past five years, save for one specifically on owls. This thread is for birds of prey as a whole-- also known as raptors.

But what makes a bird a raptor?

wikipedia wrote:Taken literally, the term bird of prey has a wide meaning that includes many birds that hunt and feed on animals and also birds that eat very small insects. Ornithology has a narrower definition of bird of prey: a bird that has very good 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. An example of this difference in definition, the narrower definition excludes storks and gulls, which can eat quite large fish, partly because these birds catch and kill prey entirely with their beaks, and similarly bird-eating skuas, fish-eating penguins, and vertebrate-eating kookaburras are excluded. Birds of prey generally prey on vertebrates, which are usually quite large relative to the size of the bird. Most also eat carrion, at least occasionally, and vultures and condors eat carrion as their main food source.
So, which birds are classified as raptors? As of now, we have a few families and orders that are technically raptors.

Order Strigiformes (owls)
  • Family Tytonidae (barn-owls)
  • Family Strigidae (true owls)
Order Cathartiformes
  • Family Cathartidae (New World vultures)
Order Falconiformes
  • Family Falconidae (falcons and caracaras)
Order Accipitriformes
  • Family Sagittariidae (secretarybird)
  • Family Pandionidae (osprey)
  • Family Accipitridae (accipitrid raptors)
    In Accipitridae include: Accipitrinae ("true" hawks: cooper's hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, finnish goshawk), Gypaetinae & Aegypiinae (old world vultures: griffon vulture, bearded vulture), Buteoninae (buteo or buzzard hawks: red-tailed hawk, ferruginous hawk, harris hawk), Aquilinae ("true" eagles: golden eagle, african crowned eagle, martial eagle), Harpiinae (eagles: harpy eagle, crested eagle, and papuan eagle only), Melieraxinae (african goshawks), Polyboroidinae (African harrier hawks), Circaetinae (serpent eagles), Circinae (other harrier hawks), Elaninae & Milvinae (kites: Mississippi kite, red kite), Haliaeetinae (sea eagles: bald eagle, Stellar's sea eagle, African fish eagle), Perninae (Warmer climate hawks: long-tailed honey buzzard, Pacific baza)
These birds are all very unique and adapted to different climates and hunting a wide variety of prey, from bugs to some species even taking deer.

Falcons hunt by high speed diving, the peregrine falcon being the fastest animal in the world. They fly up very high and go into a spiral dive called a stoop, which is usually more then enough to stun or kill their prey, usually birds. Accipiter hawks hunt by weaving in and out of trees to catch mostly birds or small mammals. Buteo hawks and eagles hunt by waiting on their prey to run out then pouncing and crushing it.

You can even tell from the wing shape of these birds what their role is in the environment. Waiting hunters or vultures have a long wing meant for soaring, while Accipiters have a short wing meant for dodging in and out of trees. Falcons have a long pointed wing to help them in a dive.


Image
x

So yeah, these birds are really cool. Feel free to ask me stuff, I have lots of experience with these guys.


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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by airbones » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:41 pm

I'll admit, I don't know very much about birds of prey (or any birds, really), but I have always really admired them. The extent of my knowledge comes from clips in wildlife documentaries too, and who knows how reliable those are. Which makes me curious if there's any pet peeves you have for misconceptions about these guys?

Also what kind of bird could take down a deer? :V That boggles my mind, probably because when I think "birds of prey" I'm with everyone who thinks mice, rodents, etc., but a deer seems like a whole other challenge.
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by alethe » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:56 pm

Misconceptions? The most irritating one is that "vultures are ugly and disgusting." No, they're not either. They have to keep themselves clean because of the disease they could possibly contract, and they're incredibly helpful to our environment. They help keep our streams and groundwater free of disease (i mean, these guys can digest rabies, bruh) and are stunning birds to behold up close i mean
Image
andean condor

Image
king vulture

Image
palm nut vulture

To name a few stunning ones.

Another misconception is the "they can pick up a dog/child/goat/whatever." A while ago a college media student made a hoax eagle steals child video that went viral, but this whole thing was before then. Typically in the wild a bird of prey wouldn't go after these types of prey. They are too dangerous, and not worth the effort.
--
Golden eagles typically can be used to hunt foxes, deer, and wolves to name a few. Typically this wouldn't happen in the wild, though, this practice is normally with a captive eagle by falconers but...
here's a trail cam photo capturing a wild eagle attacking a deer
Image
idk who won

No clue if this is a captive bird or not, but
Image

a fox pursuit
Image

eagles are crazy


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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by airbones » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:14 pm

holy crud and those eagles are BIG too. I guess it doesn't really register when I'm looking at numbers and measurements, but that first pic with it's wing held up next to the deer is wow

Vultures seem like one of the couple of animals that get a bad rap for sure, even in like cartoons they're always seen circling a dying animal and like pecking at it but never doing anything cool like digesting rabies(?!). Those pretty babs deserve more credit.
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by Kittea » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:15 pm

One of the places I work is part ranch part wildlife refuge, they have several exotic animals rescued from individuals who did not have the proper permits to own said animals as well as animals given to them by zoos and other rescue organizations. One of the animals they have is a beautiful Andean condor. I help with setups for events at the ranch, and often get to stay during the events during which the handlers will show the impressive wingspan of the bird as well as show the bird in flight. Quite an incredible animal.

From my understanding, breeding and incubation techniques developed working with Andean condors have led to a breeding program for California condors which have expanded the total population of California condors from a low of 23 individuals to more than 200, allowing for the re-introduction of the birds into the wild. Further research indicates there are now more than 400 total individuals.
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by alethe » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:58 pm

yep, they’re really big. It doesn’t really click, though, until you see them up close honestly.

I just adore vultures and can talk about them Forever, they’re wonderful.

Gosh I’m really jealous! A condor? I would cry. They’re wonderful birds and I would love to work with one some day. 11 ft wingspan on that bird. Incredible. Out of curiousity, is it glove trained, or does it fly from perch to perch?

Its great to see the California condor making a return, too.


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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by Kittea » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:07 pm

It's been a while since I've been to an event they had the condor out for so I'm a little foggy on the details. They had it fly to a perch from my recollection, but I'm not sure how they got it from its enclosure to the event location a few hundred feet away. It may be glove trained? Your wording makes it sound like it's one or the other?
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by valkea » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:12 pm

I'm a corvid guy but I've always been fascinated by raptors. Beautiful birds, and I love how diverse they are in how they hunt and how specialized they are for their methods of hunting. Very fond of eagles, vultures, and owls, but I think the secretary bird is my favorite. Such unique birds, tbh I love everything about them. Vultures are pretty sweet too, though their bad rep saddens me a bit. Especially the "ugly" part which is blatantly not true. Bearded vultures for example look incredible and have some fascinating behavior to boot.
Image

Around where I live is pretty much red-tailed hawks... everywhere. So many of them. Owning chickens has also had the side effect of attracting them to our yard even though they can't even get to the chickens. At night you can hear a fair few owls, too, though I'm not sure what species.
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by alethe » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:20 pm

Kittea wrote:It's been a while since I've been to an event they had the condor out for so I'm a little foggy on the details. They had it fly to a perch from my recollection, but I'm not sure how they got it from its enclosure to the event location a few hundred feet away. It may be glove trained? Your wording makes it sound like it's one or the other?
oh, its usually not one or the other (my bird is trained for both for example) but typically a bird that size wouldn’t be trained to sit on the glove due to the fact you’d have to be pretty big to handle it properly. That’s not to say it can’t be done, I’m simply curious.
One zoo I know who has a condor has trained him to walk around next to the handlers.

Bearded vultures and secretary birds are amazing and i love


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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by Uzumaaki » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:21 pm

Something was dead in the middle of the road on my route to work the other day and this vulture was just chillin...eatin the carcass in the middle of a busy road...he would wait until cars got super close and then just hop out of the way until traffic settled again. It was amazing LOL I worried about him all day and then when my shift ended like six hours later he was STILL there just hopping around and narrowly escaping death (or maybe it was a different one)

Birds of prey kinda sorta intimidate me, sometimes I look at pictures or videos of them and I'm like woah, that's a big sucker. It kinda makes me feel like I'm looking at a dinosaur or something. They're so neat
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by Kittea » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:26 pm

alethe wrote:
Kittea wrote:It's been a while since I've been to an event they had the condor out for so I'm a little foggy on the details. They had it fly to a perch from my recollection, but I'm not sure how they got it from its enclosure to the event location a few hundred feet away. It may be glove trained? Your wording makes it sound like it's one or the other?
oh, its usually not one or the other (my bird is trained for both for example) but typically a bird that size wouldn’t be trained to sit on the glove due to the fact you’d have to be pretty big to handle it properly. That’s not to say it can’t be done, I’m simply curious.
One zoo I know who has a condor has trained him to walk around next to the handlers.
They may just walk it. I have seen it flying from tree to perch before in one demonstration. That was impressive. It's amazing that a bird that big only weighs up to 33 lbs. I know they have different bones and stuff but being used to dogs, including some of similar body dimensions (less wings), it's just such a different weight than one would expect.
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by alethe » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:29 am

Pyjaks wrote:Something was dead in the middle of the road on my route to work the other day and this vulture was just chillin...eatin the carcass in the middle of a busy road...he would wait until cars got super close and then just hop out of the way until traffic settled again. It was amazing LOL I worried about him all day and then when my shift ended like six hours later he was STILL there just hopping around and narrowly escaping death (or maybe it was a different one)

Birds of prey kinda sorta intimidate me, sometimes I look at pictures or videos of them and I'm like woah, that's a big sucker. It kinda makes me feel like I'm looking at a dinosaur or something. They're so neat
vultures are very intelligent birds, super awesome. caracaras are too, but they're technically falcons wearing a vulture trench coat.

big sucker? what about the little guys?
Image
(left: common kestrel, right: american kestrel; both female)

Kittea wrote:
alethe wrote:
Kittea wrote:It's been a while since I've been to an event they had the condor out for so I'm a little foggy on the details. They had it fly to a perch from my recollection, but I'm not sure how they got it from its enclosure to the event location a few hundred feet away. It may be glove trained? Your wording makes it sound like it's one or the other?
oh, its usually not one or the other (my bird is trained for both for example) but typically a bird that size wouldn’t be trained to sit on the glove due to the fact you’d have to be pretty big to handle it properly. That’s not to say it can’t be done, I’m simply curious.
One zoo I know who has a condor has trained him to walk around next to the handlers.
They may just walk it. I have seen it flying from tree to perch before in one demonstration. That was impressive. It's amazing that a bird that big only weighs up to 33 lbs. I know they have different bones and stuff but being used to dogs, including some of similar body dimensions (less wings), it's just such a different weight than one would expect.
yep, that's for sure. I've had people ask me if the kestrel i was holding was two pounds... nope! a couple of ounces. My red-tail weighs about two pounds, bald eagles are 7-10 pounds. i've gotten used to the weight so 33 lbs sounds extremely heavy to me actually, lol.

EDIT: super late to the game, but here's a clip of an eagle fox hunt. Warning for the general things to expect in a hunting video: mild blood and animal death, but nothing too gory is shown.


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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by valkea » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:15 pm

What a good big bird. You don't grasp the size of the birds until you really see them in action with a big prey. It's amazing to see, as is the bird in action. Also, the noises it makes are super cute.
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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by alethe » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:58 pm

yep, i love eagle chirps! the eagles make that sound because they've been imprinted. a wild bird doesn't make a lot of noise, save for possible foodbegging (something Rev and I had to deal with)


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Re: General Bird of Prey Discussion

Post by 2wolf22 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:33 pm

I'll confess I don't have too much experience with birds of prey. Still one time, We saw a vulture on a hill once. It extended out its wings and another one came over. It was attracting a female. Then we have hawks in our area. They fly around in flocks for some reason. I thought they did live in solitude or with their mate at first. If anyone could explain the large groups of hawks, it would be great! My only memorable eagle experience was at summer camp. It was flying over the American flag, too. I always try to remember my birds of prey experiences since I do like them! :eagle:

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