Birds of Prey : Hawks
The term Hawk is used to describe birds of prey that are in the diurnal group; meaning they are active by day. There are a massive 270 species of hawks worldwide and all are classed as birds of prey. %%AFC-ADVERT%%
Hawks are particularly exciting birds because of their diversity. Yes there are some similarities between them such as good eyesight, hooked beaks and feet with talons but there are also lots of differences. For example an American Kestrel weighs a tiny 4 ounces while a Bald Eagle can weigh 13 pounds, this means that one hawk can weigh 52 times that of another.
All birds of prey are effective killers but hawks are particularly skilled and ruthless predators. Hawks are strong, powerful and armed with sharp curved talons for hooking prey and strong beaks for ripping flesh. Hawks can reach astounding speeds of 150mph and can travel thousands of miles each year.
Hawks have brilliant hearing and also have the best eyesight in the animal world. Not only can hawks see in colour for longer distances than humans but they also have the ability to see eight times more clearly than us.
Female hawks are larger than the males, in some species such as the Sharp-Shinned Hawk the female weighs twice as much as the male. Hawks usually pair for life but if a partner dies then a hawk will quickly find a new mate. Hawks generally have a string allegiance to a breeding site and despite migrating they will return to the same nesting territory.
Larger species of hawk lay one or two eggs each year and smaller hawks can lay anywhere between three and five. The incubation period also varies with species but will usually last between three and six weeks. Hawks grow fast and small species such as kestrels will grow to their full size within a month, large species will reach their full size in 11 weeks. Once they are fully grown hawks will fledge the nest but often remain with their parents to learn some vital skills before becoming completely independent.
In the past hawks have been considered as vermin because of them being predators, however we must remember and respect that predators are important and hawks form a part of our diverse world of wildlife.