By Katie Gill
Welcome back, wild ones!
For this set of facts, we explored the world of birds. In particular, we had our gaze set upon birds of prey that can be found around our neck of the woods, Rochester, NY. I’m talking about the kinds of avians that are frequently banded, tracked and studied by the folks at Braddock Bay Raptor Research, a group hailed by our kestrel, Kele.
We now present to you a mere sample of the Birds of Braddock:
- Kestrels, the smallest birds of prey in North America, nest in cavities. They rely on old woodpecker holes, natural tree hollows, rock crevices, and nooks in buildings or other human-built structures.
Typically, nest sites are in trees along wood edges or in the middle of open ground. American Kestrels also take readily to nest boxes people put up.
- The most common hawk in North America, the Red-Tailed Hawk is a bird of prey that mates for life.
During breeding season, hawk pairs fly in large circles and gain great height before the male plunges into a deep dive and subsequent steep climb back to circling height. Later, the birds grab hold of one another with their talons and fall spiraling towards earth.
- Falcons are diurnal raptors, birds of prey that hunt during the day, and can catch their prey in mid-air!
Sharp-Shinned Hawks are stealthy! They hunt by lurking in the woods, waiting for small birds to approach. The hawks then burst forth with incredibly swift flight to capture prey in their talons.
- Northern Saw-whet Owls may be the most kawaii birds of prey. Tiny owls with catlike faces, oversized heads, bright yellow eyes and high-pitched calls, Northern Saw-whets are nocturnal and rarely seen.
- The osprey is a bird that fishes! Since its diet is essentially all fish, the osprey can be found near ponds, rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways around the world.
Ospreys hunt by diving to the water’s surface from some 30 to 100 feet (9 to 30 meters) up. They have curved claws and gripping pads on their feet to help them pluck fish from the water and carry them for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind resistance.
- A kettle is a group of birds wheeling and circling in the air, something that people in Upstate New York see on a regular basis!
Until next time: stay wild, friends.