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Thread: Hawks

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    Admin denise's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Orlando, Florida


    Hawks are a group of small to medium sized predatory birds. They have extremely sharp claws, called talons, which they use to catch and hold their prey. They use their strong, hooked bills to tear apart prey that is too large to swallow whole. They also have large, well developed eyes, which give them the keenest vision of any animal, much better than humans. Hawks usually wait in hiding for prey to come by, then jump out and grab it by surprise. Hawks are diurnal, which means they hunt during the day and rest by night.

    Hawks are very adaptable and live in a variety of habitats, from forests, prairies, marshlands, and savannas. There are more than 230 species worldwide, 19 of these are found in Florida.

    Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus in Blue Springs.

    Hawk at Peacock Springs.
    Photo courtesy of Janet Stape

    Red shouldered hawks like to live in forests, but need access to water, usually favoring flooded swamps or springs. They eat a healthy diet of voles, chipmunks, mice, birds, small snakes, large insects, frogs and crayfish. They drop suddenly from the sky on their prey surprising them, and will often wait outside animals burrows, grabbing them when they come out. In Florida, red shouldered hawks are permanent residents and do not migrate during winter. The most serious threat to their survival is deforestation.
    Last edited by denise; 09-06-2008 at 10:01 PM.
    Denise Byrne
    Marine Biologist/OW, Tech and Cave Instructor
    Orlando, Florida

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