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HAWK HUNTING



As a lover of hawks I must butt in:

>I understand that the hawks that do so (red tails?) only do it in 
>marginal environments (ie, they don't show the same mutual attack 
>strategies in better stocked enviromnents) and that this is not 
>altruistic. 

Actually, its very rare to see a red-tail (Buteo jamaicensis) hunt with 
others of its kind.  B. jamaicensis does hunt in margins, taking 
advantage of a high perch to eye the grass below for its rodent, 
poultry, and snake prey.  It is also a soarer, one of the few hawks that 
habitually does so.  As for habitat, in the East and Midwest it has a 
very narrow habitat, nesting in high trees and hunting in the way and 
locations described above.  Out West, however, it is more varible in 
habitats, generally filling up all available space.  B. jamaicensis is 
also RSD ( reverse sexual dimorphic ), where the females are larger.  
During nesting, it seems that the males hunt more.  

The best example of a cooperative hunter in the falconiform world is the 
Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus).  It flies close to the ground and 
has a reputation of being fearless.  Usually two individuals cooperate 
in a low-level attack.  

There are also many hawks that hunt in closed forests, such as the 
sharp-shinned hawk (Accipter striatus), which hunts in coniferous 
forests after songbirds.  The goshawk (Accipter gentilis), the merlin 
(Falco columbarius), and especially the broad-winged hawk (Buteo 
platypterus) all hunt in the woods.  

Matt Troutman

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