Guest Author - Malika Harricharan
A Raptor is a bird of prey, which feeds on other animals. These birds a great at hunting. Some of their abilities include excellent vision and hearing. In addition, they use their feet instead of the beaks to grasp pretty, but their beaks are large and great for tearing prey apart.
Some types of these birds are Eagles, Kits, Buzzards, Harriers, Vultures, Falcons and Owls.
There are nearly 50 different kinds of species of raptors that can be found in North America which include about 18 different species of Owls. The most common species hawks, falcons and eagles hunt during the day (diurnal). Nocturnal species are owls which have senses that allow it to capture their prey in total darkness.
Conservation for raptors is an ongoing process. They have suffered from habitat loss, hunting as well as contamination from certain pesticides.
Two exceptions are the Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle which have made great comebacks since efforts were made to protect them years ago. The Peregrine Falcon was removed from the endangered species list about 10 years ago. And the Bald Eagle, which were under 1000 in numbers back in the early 1960s is now well over 10,000.
If you are interested in visiting some raptor observatories here is a list of some found in the United States:
* Appalachian Mountains, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway
* California - Golden Gate Raptor Observatory
* Idaho - Idaho Bird Observatory: Boise Ridge
* Minnesota - Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve (Duluth)
* New Jersey - Chimney Rock Hawk Watch (Martinsville)
* New York
o Braddock Bay
o Hawkwatch: (Fire Island Raptor Enumerators) (Long Island)
* Texas - Texas Hawkwatches (Corpus Christi)
* West Virginia - Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory (Monroe County)