Sunday, 28 July 2013

Raptor


Cathi came round for dinner last night and we talked about raptors. We all thought they were a large but specific group of predaceous birds. We thought the group did not include owls or herons. We searched the dictionaries. Most said that raptor was a name for any bird of prey and some mentioned that the term raptor also meant flying dinosaur. You can certainly imagine the dinosaur genetic inheritance in many predaceous birds! I must admit we ended being rather confused. Cathi had promised to send me some of her fine pictures of local birds of prey (excluding owls and herons which I will keep for a future post).  We find it quite remarkable that Harry was able to photograph five different birds of prey in his garden in Seaton Ross
I struggled for a title for this post and settled on hawk. When I looked up this word I was even more confused. I would be grateful if anyone can cast any light and no doubt if any of today’s birds are not hawks someone will tell me! As you can see, I changed my mind and went back to raptor!


The common buzzard is an opportunistic predator and has a peea-ay cry rather like a cats’s meow 

The red kite’s diet of small mammals  and much carrion also includes earthworms
The kestrel hovers facing the wind searching its prey


Low flying merlins rely on their speed and agility to catch their prey

Followers of my blog need no introduction to the sparrow hawk!


On my roof


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Harry Poole pictures

14 comments:

  1. What a wonderful pictures of all these raptors. The sparrowhawk of your former post is an amazing creature. On my morningwalks I often see buzzards, sparrows and kestrels, but the red kite I have never seen here before. Beautiful photos, especially the kestrel.

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    1. Yes it is so amazing to see the Kestrel hover. I understand they can hover in still air, e.g. in a barn searching for prey.

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  2. I don't think even the scientists can decide what a raptor is. At one time it did include owls. Even use of the term hawk is debatable!

    We occasionally get kestrels and sparrowhawks in the garden and on the plot but not many other birds of prey. The term bird of prey is also confusing as you would think a bird of prey was one that preyed on other animals so why aren't kingfishers or even blackbirds and thrushes or fly catches called birds of prey?

    Great photos by the way. Taking photos of birds in flight is something I haven't mastered - will I ever I wonder?

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    1. Very interesting and thoughtful Sue, Thank you, you have been thinking deeply.

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    2. I've done it again - it should say flycatchers. The term bird of prey is always something I have found confusing - even as a child.

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  3. Harry has captured those birds beautifully Roger!
    Sparrowhawks are regulars around here and if we are lucky enough on a clear night the owls hunt in the fields nearby.
    I'm with Sue - surely all birds that hunt or catch other living creatures could be considered birds of prey.

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  4. Great post Roger. I always really look forward to your wildlife posts. Here is the States, raptors are usually regarded as the eagles and hawks, whereas vultures tend not to be referred to as such. I don't think that advances the debate much though!

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    1. It helps, I somehow think 'raptors' describes eagles and hawks so well. I last visited your great country seven years ago when I visited my aunt in Sisters in Oregon. We drove out to a conservation/wildlife centre and I remember there a superb demonstration of handling raptors.

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  5. Brian Steadman29 July 2013 at 17:48

    Brilliant Roger! Not many people lucky enough to have such a rich diversity of bird life in their back yard.

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  6. Cassie Charlesworth30 July 2013 at 18:26

    Fab post Roger. Thought provoking too.

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  7. I have always loved your hawk posts Roger. You are indeed fortunate to have such a rich diversity of birds in your area.

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    1. Thanks Brian, Cassie and Liana. Good to hear from you. We are very rich in all manner of wildlife around here. Its working countryside in East Yorkshire and not chocolate box prettiness though.

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    2. Pretty?!!! I'd much rather see five different birds of prey from my garden than thatched roofs and wisteria!

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