Monday, April 21, 2008

Raptor Fun Facts

(By the way, I am watching America's Funniest Home Videos...and a father and son have the son's mouse outside cleaning the cage, I guess. They put the cute little white mouse on the top of the cage and 3 seconds later, a hawk barrels in and snatches the mouse and flies away. Oops!)

rough legged hawk 2
(Rough-legged hawk)

There are 320 species of diurnal raptors worldwide (that includes hawks, eagles, kites, falcons, harriers and osprey). 71 of those are just eagle species!
There are 200 species of owl worldwide.

A breakdown of families and orders:

There are three main orders:

1a) Hawks and relations (Accipitridae in the order Accipitriformes)
1b) Ospreys (Panionidae, also in the order Accipitriformes)
2) Secretary Birds (Sagittaridae,alone in the order Sagittariiformes)
3) Falcons and relations (Falconidae in the order Falconiformes)

(New World vultures were considered in the order Falconiformes, but some authorities place them in Ciconiiformes (storks and herons) and might be considered a subfamily of the stork family. Still others feel they should be in an independent order of Cathartiformes, not closely associated with either storks or birds of prey. Confused? That's okay. The experts can't agree on it either.

The owls (Strigiformes) can be divided into two families:
1) Barn Owls and relations (Tytonidae)
2) Typical or other owls (Strigidae)

Smallest birds of prey:
Elf owl (1 1/2 ounces, 5 inches long)
Largest birds of prey:
American Harpy Eagle (up to 20 pounds, 6 1/2 foot wingspan)

Random neat facts:

Bald eagle 123007
(Bald eagle)

Pound for pound, an eagle's wing is stronger than an airplane's.

The word "raptor" comes from the Latin word raptare, which means to "seize and carry away".

It is against the law to possess even one raptor feather without a permit from the U.S. government. The 1940 Bald Eagle Protection Act and the 1972 Migratory Bird Treaty Act both make it illegal to possess living or dead native birds (or their nests, eggs or parts) without heavy fines or imprisonment.

Eagle talons can strike with twice the force of a bullet.

Fossils of falcons dating back to 50-million years have been found in Germany.

Osprey have a polarized lens over their eyes enabling them to see under water.

lorelei and AK
(RAPTOR's American kestrel)

American kestrels are able to see in the ultraviolet range and can follow the urine trail of their prey.

Merlins mimic the flight of pigeons to sneak up on unsuspecting prey.

Okay...what can you say about this one
(RAPTOR's red morph screech owl)

And sometimes, a bird of prey can have a bad feather day.


Anonymous said...

Love your educational posting. But, I gotta say -- that last picture of that poor owl looks like some sad stuffed animal that didn't survive a trip through the washing machine. Poor critter!

mon@rch said...

Great Facts for sure! Thanks for sharing Susan!

ncmountainwoman said...

Great Earth Day post and information. What could be better for Mother Earth than to see a lovely child so interested in a raptor?

Are you sure that is a screech owl? Looks like a Muppet to me.

Kitt said...

Heh. I was just going to say that looks like a muppet, too!

Do peregrines imitate pigeon flight, too?

Mary said...

Bad feather day, for sure!

While I found this post fascinating, the first part went right over my head but I enjoyed learning the American Harp Eagle has a wingspan of over 6 feet and weighs 20 pounds. Sounds pre-historic!

Mel said...

LOL that last pic LOL LOL