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[P]
Birds of Prey: The Feathered Killing Machines

By mybostinks in Culture
Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: Natural Born Killers, Feathered Killing Machines, Peregrine falcon, Cooper's hawk, Golden eagle, Prairie falcon, Kestrel falcon, Red-tailed hawk, Ferruginous hawk, Harpy eagle (all tags)

I heard the very loud call of kree!...kree! and then I looked down and saw the One-eyed Pirate. His face is covered with streams of blood and I can see he can't wipe it out of his eyes. He looks like someone shot him at close range in the head. It looks worse than it is.

"Gawd dammit Jaguar!" I heard Pirate yell. "Get 'er away from me!" he chuckled to himself.

Of course, there's no way I was able to keep her away from her territorial imperative.

Then...here came the call; kree...kree again. This time I heard AND saw her. She stoops, in a short but quick dive....And then suddenly...BAM! She screamed down and hammered the Pirate's head. More blood poured from One-eyed's scalp. Male prairie falcons are protective too but they are only 1/3rd the size of females. The females are killing machines, inherited from their ancient raptor ancestors; the dinosaurs.

"Yeow! Fuck that hurts!" One-eyed Pirate said as he rubbed his head. His hand is now slippery with his own blood.

I laughed and it echoed against the canyon walls, fading out somewhere into Purgatory Canyon.


One-eyed gives up and lowers himself down onto the talus slope in one of the "finger canyons", Poitrey Canyon and the screeching goes away. She was a very aggressive prairie falcon. I put on a climbing saddle and hook the rope on it. I lower myself as quickly as possible, down along the canyon wall to take a look at him. It was funny as hell and I was laughing all the way down.

"It ain't funny you fucker." he says as I look at the cuts which are now streaming blood and caking in his hair.

"I wonder where the male is?" One-eyed says looking up the canyon wall.

The males aren't nearly as big, but can be just as aggressive.

"Next time, I am bringing my hard hat." The Pirate swears.

Most falcons are very protective of their nests but not as much as this prairie falcon. Usually they would get upset, scream at you and fly around a lot. This one definitely wanted us to go away. I look up behind me and see them both fly into their nest on the ledge of the cliff.

Feathered Killing Machines: A Brief Introduction to Raptors
Not all birds of prey (raptors) are the same. There are falcons, buteos and accipiters. Loosely, they are classified and identified by their wing shapes. The largest bird of prey is the magnificent American Harpy Eagle. With a six foot (1.83 meters) wing span, this bird can seriously mess you up. Fortunately, they exist in the tropics of South America.

The ornithologists that study them wear hard hats and thick leather jackets, which ultimately get ripped to shreds. Otherwise their skin would be shredded by the Harpy's back talons. You could be seriously injured. A Harpy would easily make your dog or cat a lunch. I have seen films of them and they nab sloths and monkeys for breakfast. Here's an example from Google Video . Note the size of the legs and claws on this feathered beast.

In 1972 the pesticide DDT was banned in the U.S. We were in this canyon to see what affect, if any, the ban on DDT had made on breeding. DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) at one time was ubiquitous and it was thought that it made the shells of eggs of birds of prey very thin and then crushed by the parents in the nest. This caused the dramatic decline in raptors and peregrine falcons that once existed in New York City near Central Park and had all but vanished.

We found in only a few years that their numbers had increased dramatically. We were checking this by counting unbroken eggs in nests of prairie falcons that resided on ledges of canyon walls. This canyon in Colorado had prairie falcon nests every mile or two.

The Buteos
Ferruginous hawk - Buteo regalis
On our way to the canyons of the Eastern Colorado plains, we passed through the grasslands of the Southern Great Plains, in particular the Cimarron National Grassland. The grasslands were/are part of the habitat of the Ferruginous hawks; the largest of the hawks. They are a magnificent bird. Watching a Ferruginous hawk hunt is boring. They are a lazy hunter and they do a lot of ground hunting. In other words, they find a mammal hole in the ground and sit there and wait until their meal appears. They are quite successful and efficient at doing this.

Red-Tailed hawk - Buteo jamaicensis
These birds are everywhere and have benefited greatly from humans in terms of habitat. If you have spent any time on the Great Plains or Midwestern U.S. or just about anywhere in the U.S., you have probably seen them. The are the ones that are making "lazy circles in the sky". Like most buteos/hawks they are lazy fliers. The prefer soaring to flapping their wings and hover or "kite" above their prey. I have seen them carrying off jack rabbits and if they are really hungry they will eat fresh road kill.

The Golden eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
Golden eagles are magnificent as well. We are on the edge of their breeding range. The Kazakhs in the remote mountains of Western Mongolia hunt animals as large as wolves with these incredible birds. I have never seen this but I am sure it would be an incredible hunt to witness. Golden eagles hunt best in pairs, they work as partners. One Golden will flush the prey while the other comes in for the kill with its talons brandished and then WHAM, an explosion of fur. Eagles are the bombers in the world of raptors. They are big, deadly, precise and work well together.

The courtship displays are an amazing characteristic of many eagles, especially Golden eagles. They perform on the wing, an amazing cartwheeling display. I have witnessed this several times and this cartwheeling behavior is truly breathtaking. Note: I have only been able to find this video in RealAudio format. It is worth viewing however.

The Accipiters
Cooper's hawk - Accipiter cooperii
Of the accipiters my favorite are the Cooper's hawk. Cooper's hawks are beautiful and they are incredible hunters. Like most accipiters their hunting abilities are specialized more in tactical hunting; darting in and out of the bush with great agility and quickness. Their stealthiness is uncanny and their prey never knows what hit them.

For me, a Cooper's hawk is nature's Apache helicopter. They see their prey off in the distance, lock in on that prey, then using vegetation and brush as their cover, they go in for the kill. Watching a Cooper's hawk hunt is an exciting sight to see. If they were a character in a video game, they would devastate their enemy.

The Falcons
American Kestrel (Sparrow hawk) falcon- Falco sparverius
The smallest of the North American falcons is the American kestrel. They are about the size of a robin or grackle of the Southwest U.S. American kestrel are also one of the most beautiful, in terms of their coloration.

They are fierce and fearless hunters. Lizards, mice and voles are their largest prey. But because of their size they are the only falcon preyed upon by other raptors; like Golden eagles, prairie and peregrine falcons.

The Fastest Animal on Earth: Peregrine falcon - Falco peregrinus
Easily, the fastest, most efficient animal on earth is the Peregrine falcon. They have been clocked at speeds approaching 200 mph (322 kph), in a full stoop. I have been witness to a number of hunts with a falconer that trained peregrine falcons.

The Peregrine is released and it then circles the field climbing to an altitude where she is completely out of sight high above the terrain and falconer. This is called "waiting on". The falconer then flushes the prey (a game bird) out from a bush. Next in a matter of seconds, out of a 180 mph (290 kph) stoop, there is an explosion of feathers, the Peregrine has made its kill, with the speed and agility like no other animal on earth. It would be unusual for its prey to survive. It happens so fast, with such speed and ferocity that you never see the bird in the stoop (dive). You only see the burst of feathers as the falcon strikes her prey with her back talons. There is no other sight quite like it.

Falconry: The Sport of Kings - A Very Brief Intro
The sport of falconry is a complete article in itself. However, very few people should practice falconry. It is all-consuming and must be an obsession. Falconry is demanding and the slightest neglect can end in tragedy for the bird. Falconry requires hours of care and training of the bird. Because the bird is dependent entirely on the falconer, it also means you have to have freshly killed wild meat available daily with no exceptions. This means absolutely no meat from a supermarket. Eventually, most falconers release their bird when they are of breeding age. Raptors cannot be kept as pets as one can with other types of birds.

If you would like to consider falconry you should spend at least a month with an experienced falconer. Only then can you decide if you can do it. If you want to read about the lore, training and practice of falconry, there is only one book to read, "A Hawk for the Bush", by J. P. Mavrogordato. This book is THE book on falconry.

"Which came first Jaguar, the chicken or the egg?" One-eyed asked me once.
"Dunno fuck face, I suppose the egg." I answer him trying to be sarcastic and waiting for his answer.
"When will you learn?...the dinosaur came first, you idiot." he laughs.

NOTES:
Special thanks to jd for this comment. It is excellent
A word of thanks to CTS for the links in this thread. Check them out.
This is the prelude to the Mexico travels detailed in "When You're Lost In the Rain, In Juarez and It's Eastertime Too"

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Related Links
o Google
o territoria l imperative
o Poitrey Canyon
o identified by their wing shapes
o American Harpy Eagle
o example from Google Video
o New York City near Central Park and had all but vanished
o Ferruginou s hawk - Buteo regalis
o Cimarron National Grassland
o Red-Tailed hawk - Buteo jamaicensis
o The Golden eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
o The Kazakhs
o Western Mongolia
o cartwheeli ng behavior
o Cooper's hawk - Accipiter cooperii
o American Kestrel (Sparrow hawk) falcon- Falco sparverius
o Peregrine falcon - Falco peregrinus
o approachin g 200 mph (322 kph)
o Falconry: The Sport of Kings
o jd for this comment
o this thread.
o "When You're Lost In the Rain, In Juarez and It's Eastertime Too"
o Also by mybostinks


Display: Sort:
Birds of Prey: The Feathered Killing Machines | 100 comments (74 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
Added link to topographic (none / 0) (#3)
by mybostinks on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 09:55:53 AM EST

map of Poitrey Canyon. I was also spelling it incorrectly.

i want to see me some (3.00 / 4) (#4)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:12:50 AM EST

Haast's Eagle, as the largest eagle ever was. damn maori killed them off

but we'll have to settle for the Philippine Eagle as the current raptor size king on this planet


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

excellent I forgot about (none / 1) (#5)
by mybostinks on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:15:20 AM EST

the Monkey-Eating eagle you are referring to. I wonder if I should change my statement. Double 3s CTS...thanks.

[ Parent ]
I meant to ask you... (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by mybostinks on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:22:33 AM EST

I believe you live in NYC...correct? Have you ever seen the peregrines of Central Park?

[ Parent ]
wait you mean palemale? (3.00 / 3) (#7)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:29:41 AM EST

i met this guy once

holy cow, he's obsessed

he's a camera operator for a big network here, and on his free time, this is ALL HE DOES, RED TAIL HAWK'S 100% OF THE TIME

he was actually charged with assault on paula zahn and her kids as her and her husband got rid of the bird's nest (it was returned) in 2004. not that i disagree with him, fuck the rich, but damn

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

fukin awesome CTS.... (none / 0) (#8)
by mybostinks on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:33:36 AM EST

Thanks!

I would love to meet him. I would imagine it would be quite an interesting conversation.

Thanks again.

[ Parent ]

he's an older trinidadian dude (3.00 / 3) (#9)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 11:11:40 AM EST

nice guy actually, just a little... obsessed

well, he is like some sort of bird watching rock star in central park there, and he has a bit of fame now, ever since "eaglenestgate" in 2004, so it works for him, maybe even gets some chicks


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Not exactly (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by livus on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 08:29:20 PM EST

they died from lack of moa.


---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
and who do think killed the moa? nt (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 11:22:39 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
and what do you think "exactly" means? (none / 0) (#64)
by livus on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 07:23:27 PM EST

I know the Maori ate teh moa, and that may be why  the eagle died off.

Last time I looked into it a couple of years ago it hadn't been conclusively proven that Maori and Haast eagle coexisted. It was suspected due to some eagle bones and a legend about a birdwoman stealing a kid, but they hadn't established it as firm fact. It could be thatHassts were dying already.

My point was, indirectly causing something to die isn't the exact same thing as killing it yourself.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

logic motherfucker (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 07:30:16 PM EST

haast eagle alive: happy eating moa
then
maori arrive: kill off moa
then
haast eagle dead: no more moa

ergo: maori killed off haast eagle

anything else i can help you with fucktard?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Yes, you killed my family cat you mofo (none / 0) (#67)
by livus on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 08:20:08 PM EST

North Americans cause hole in ozone
Hole in ozone kills my cat
North Americans killed my cat.

Isn't scientifically proven yet? Well neither is Hasst's eagle death so you owe me a cat.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

so you're a creationist? (none / 1) (#70)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:13:14 PM EST

if that's your burden of proof, you can't believe in evolution either


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
what the hell? (none / 0) (#71)
by livus on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:25:13 PM EST

what have I ever said to make you think I was a creationist? Of all the -

On the other hand, I don't especially believe in anything. I am not a partisan when it comes to your faith based belief systems.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

you're not partisan? (none / 1) (#73)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:39:04 PM EST

i'd call you a rabid bloodthirsty faithful fascist fundamentalist maori-not-killed-the-moa-ist


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I'm a Moacaust Denier! n (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by livus on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:41:44 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA (none / 1) (#76)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:04:28 PM EST

cts resigns

livus wins at the internets


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I bet the eagle started eating the Maori. (none / 1) (#83)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 12:58:31 AM EST

And as we all know, anyone who starts a fight with the Maori is doomed to extinction. (This whole "treaty" thing they have with the NZ government is just a ploy to keep the pakehas distracted while they make enough spears in their underground spear-mines.)

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

not spears, taiaha. Much cooler. (none / 0) (#86)
by livus on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 01:44:09 AM EST

Having grown up with terrifying tales of the Bird Woman I am in no doubt that those child-napping eagles got what was coming to them.

Yeah, I can see the eventual extinction of ngati pakeha, though not in quite the manner you describe.  No bad thing really.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Yeah, down with pakeha! (none / 0) (#87)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:09:39 AM EST

The Maori version of Lord of the Rings would have been much cooler anyway.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

oi. quiet in the cheap seats! n (none / 0) (#88)
by livus on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:18:52 AM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
yes, the maori did kill them off.. (2.00 / 2) (#39)
by agavero on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 12:36:21 AM EST

"Although it used to be thought that numbers were declining before the impact of humans, their extinction is now attributed to hunting and forest clearance by the Polynesian ancestors of the Māori, who settled in New Zealand a few hundred years earlier. Before the arrival of humans, moa were hunted by Haast's Eagle, the world's largest eagle, which is also now extinct." as reported in wikipedia. you can read more on it here..
moa
"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
Jesus Christ. (2.00 / 3) (#49)
by BJH on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:07:57 AM EST

Go back to kindergarten and take some fucking reading comprehension lessons, will you? You SUCK.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Argh. Please never do that again (none / 1) (#68)
by livus on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 08:56:57 PM EST

that quoting wikipedia at length thing. It's horrible.

I appreciate why you're all over this story, babes, but there's no need to wiki my ass.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

I have no idea what the hell you are talking (1.00 / 4) (#69)
by agavero on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:12:06 PM EST

about, but I like others here, appreciate and are interested in this story. Sorry things aren't going your ghey way tho!
"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
Huh? What way would that be? (none / 0) (#72)
by livus on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:30:14 PM EST

I'm minding my own business here arguing with CTS, which is a little bdsm type thing I like to do from time to time to assuage my feelings for him. This sitch is going about as much my way as anything can.

If this weird outburst of yours is because I abstained on this story then jesus christ. I give out more abstain votes than anything else. My voting policy is to abstain from anything I don't personally want to read. I haven't even read this article, and my vote in no way interferes with its progress. So go pick on someone your own size.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

I'm not picking on anyone, I would (none / 0) (#77)
by agavero on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:12:44 PM EST

just like to know why you made this stupid comment to me..."I appreciate why you're all over this story, babes, but there's no need to wiki my ass." i personally dont care what you read or what you dont read:)

"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
oh, that (none / 0) (#78)
by livus on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 11:49:12 PM EST

I always make comments like that to you. It's you.

Has nothing to do with my thoughts on the story - I have none.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Yep, yep, I'm me alright. (none / 0) (#79)
by agavero on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 12:26:46 AM EST


"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
Birds of prey is a very interesting (none / 1) (#10)
by agavero on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 11:23:46 AM EST

subject. I think those of us living in the cities that dont see many of them, tend to forget they are there. In my travels I have seen many of these birds, but did not know their names. One bird I saw that swooped down and grabbed a nice white rabbit for dinner, was a great big white owl. I saw this while driving up in the north country a few years ago. He almost hit my windshield and had a wingspan about the size of my little car. It was amazing to watch. Thanks for the story, it is well done and will have my +1FP when it goes to vote.
"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
us living in cities? speak for yourself ;-) (none / 0) (#14)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:21:38 PM EST

http://palemale.com

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Well, I dont live in the U.S., but I (none / 1) (#17)
by agavero on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:34:35 PM EST

guess I erred. Although we dont see many birds of prey in my little city, maybe the odd owl is all. The biggest city next door to me has thousands of Canada Geese running around. :)
"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
That's where all the raptors are right now... (none / 1) (#18)
by mybostinks on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:39:41 PM EST

hunting those geese!

[ Parent ]
no, kids with bows and arrows are hunting them.:( (none / 1) (#19)
by agavero on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:42:48 PM EST


"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
oh, and the city captures thousands of (none / 1) (#20)
by agavero on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:45:25 PM EST

them each year and moves them, as the goose shit is very messy on the pathways in the park where they live.LOL
"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
Another route to raptor-keeping... (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by localroger on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 01:51:53 PM EST

You can always volunteer at your local zoo. Most metropolitan zoos large enough to have a wild-bird rehab operation receive a steady stream of birds that are maimed or imprinted on humans and therefore can't ever be released into the wild. They generally use these birds for "educational" shows where their handlers display them for the public to ooooh and aaaaah firsthand. You will have to volunteer for awhile to show your commitment and spring for the license allowing you to keep protected species, but you will also have the support of the zoo with its facilities and professional keepers backing you up.

Feeding raptors in captivity isn't all that hard. There are suppliers that will mail you a steady stream of frozen mice (pinkies or adults) which are quite acceptable as raptor food. Again, if you are keeping a bird for the zoo or wild-bird rehab outfit they will probably supply you from their extensive kitchen.

My wife is the big bird-watcher, but I've tagged along on several raptor watching trips with Bill Clark, who funds his researches by conducting tours. He actually invented the method by which thousands of raptors can be identified at a distance by their flight profiles, and it was on one of these trips that I saw the River of Raptors in Veracruz. Raptors are truly amazing but it steps things up a notch to see what looks like a cloud of bees in the sky, put the binoculars on them, and realize they are all Peregrine Falcons :-)

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

excellent localroger... (none / 0) (#23)
by mybostinks on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 01:59:24 PM EST

you are correct and I should have added that in the article. Zoos are excellent places for raptor study etc.

Also, I am curious...how did the zoo do during katrina? Were there any losses?

[ Parent ]

Audubon Zoo fared very well (none / 1) (#27)
by localroger on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 02:28:01 PM EST

They had only minor losses -- a couple of nutria I think, no major animals. Fortunately they are on some of the highest ground in the city, so there was no flooding, and they have multiple backup power sources. They had a lot of trees down and stuff like that, and there are pictures of the elephants helping with the cleanup LOL. We went to the big reopening and it was quite an emotional experience, one of the first half-way "normal" things to happen in NOLA after the storm.

Unfortunately, the Aquarium of the Americas did not fare so well; their single big emergency backup generator failed a few days after the storm with no way to oxygenate the big tanks most of their fish died. They've since re-established their collection via donations from other aquariums and reopened just last month.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Yes, we had a zoo here that did (none / 0) (#26)
by agavero on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 02:16:53 PM EST

exactly that. We had all kinds of eagles, falcons, owls and even vultures. The zoo has closed now and the birds went somewhere else with every other animal. was a sad day when it closed.
"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
Excellent article.. (3.00 / 3) (#30)
by xC0000005 on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:56:03 PM EST

I was going to say something smart assed like "Yeah, but can they make honey?" but raptors are just plain cool.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
Haha! no they (none / 1) (#32)
by mybostinks on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 11:11:04 PM EST

don't make that sweet fantastic fireweed honey! Damn! I had it on griddlecakes this morning ....mmmm aunt jemima!

Thanks for the comment bee man!

[ Parent ]

Oh, there's so much you could add... (3.00 / 9) (#40)
by jd on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 12:46:01 AM EST

The Golden Eagle is one of the most amazing of the (living) eagles - gigantic wingspan, amazing range, utterly ruthless - sounds a bit like the IRS!

The Haast Eagle was not actually killed off by the Maori - they ate to extinction the Moa (a 14-foot relative of the ostrich, which some fast-food places in New Zealand want to use genetic engineering to restore). The Moa was the only animal the Haast Eagle ate - largely because it was the only thing large enough. (It would ram into them, toppling them over. They were too big to pick themselves up, and were eaten alive where they lay. The Haast Eagle has not signed Article 3.)

It should be noted that there have been claims of a giant eagle matching the description of the Haast Eagle in Canada, but there has been nothing even remotely resembling evidence that the bird does exist there. It is technically possible - it would certainly have had the ability to get there, and the extinction in New Zealand was both recent enough for there to be virtually no historic record yet far enough back that a crossing of the Americas would have been unnoticed. Like I said, though, without actual evidence it is just a modern-day myth.

It should also be noted that the nearest living relative of the Haast Eagle (the largest eagle to have ever lived) is actually the smallest eagle to have ever lived. This makes it one of the fastest-evolving species on record.

There have been attempts at restoring birds of prey in England, with mixed success - the farmers aren't happy, and there have been cases of "accidental" poisoning - but in general things seem to be going well. The effort put in, though, is not slight. round-the-clock bodyguards by the RSPB and other conservation groups is not unusual. sightings of extremely rare raptors in the UK show that there are many whose continued existence is uncertain at best.

It should be noted that the family of birds that fall into the category of "Harrier" do not carry sidewinder missiles, but their prey would probably prefer it.

There is very little in the way of research into bird of prey DNA - most of it has been for paternity tests, although I doubt child support payments have been required. There's coverage of just about every aspect, including morphology but so far genetic research is limited. The earlier mention of the Haast Eagle is the only study I know of, and I don't think any Bird of Prey is listed in any of the usual genetic databases.

This is excellent... (none / 1) (#41)
by mybostinks on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 01:28:02 AM EST

I was only intending on writing about my own experience. It was mainly meant to be an introduction.

I agree that there could have been so much more, especially with eagles since in many cultures eagles take on religious overtones because of their voracity.

Thanks for this!

[ Parent ]

Birds of Prey in San Francisco (none / 0) (#42)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 01:32:25 AM EST

There is a peregrine falcon breeding program at UC Santa Cruz, where I used to go to school. They release them into the wild. Some of them end up in San Francisco, where they prey on pigeons to the amazement of the workers in the high-rise office buildings there:

Imagine looking out your window to see a pigeon flying by, only to be instantly snapped up by a diving falcon.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Yes peregrines were on the brink (none / 0) (#43)
by mybostinks on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 01:36:13 AM EST

of extinction by the 1970s. Today however, they have made a dramatic comeback as have many birds of prey.

Sadly, many may not because of destruction of habitat.

[ Parent ]

I will move this to vote shrotly /nt (none / 0) (#46)
by mybostinks on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 07:48:27 AM EST



But could it hear the falconer? (none / 0) (#47)
by A Bore on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 08:27:39 AM EST

Worlds turn on your answer.

are you for real? (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by my gold bling shines on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 08:54:38 AM EST

or for false? because dude you sound like you are for false


Stop your blubbering prima donna - BottleRocket
about what? ROR /nt (none / 0) (#50)
by mybostinks on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:33:36 AM EST



[ Parent ]
the bit about central park (none / 1) (#51)
by my gold bling shines on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:35:33 AM EST

is it even central? is it even a park? if NY really exists, I'll eat my hat


Stop your blubbering prima donna - BottleRocket
[ Parent ]
Entirely made up.... (3.00 / 5) (#52)
by mybostinks on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:46:33 AM EST

honest.

There is no such place as NYC in these post 9/11 times. The link to the NYC city govt page is a X-Scripting trick that you fell for.

The topo map of Poietry Canyon in Colorado, is a complete contrivance between me and topozone.com. No such longitude or lattitude even exists in the U.S.

Birds of Prey? Raptors?, no way does that exist...honest. The photographs were doen with GIMP and a graphic artist friend of mine. I paid numerous website operators untold amounts of money to host the hoax.

The names One-eyed Pirate and Jaguar however, are actual Christian names that exist on actual birth certificates.

Hope that clears it up for you.

[ Parent ]

That comment alone is worth (none / 0) (#55)
by agavero on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:39:51 AM EST

sixteen +FP! Definitly got me going this morning. too damn cute. LoL
"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
as a resident of ny (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by circletimessquare on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 06:06:54 PM EST

i can say in fact, that it does not exist. i, in fact, do not exist. and you are right, central park is actually a little bit to the east. but it IS a park. populated by these guys


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
DBL 3s (none / 1) (#66)
by mybostinks on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 07:40:18 PM EST



[ Parent ]
delicious! (none / 1) (#56)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:50:43 AM EST

Got my FP.

Anyway, what's to stop you from using supermarket chicken to feed your bird?  Have you falconed before?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

I was always told... (3.00 / 4) (#57)
by mybostinks on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 11:15:07 AM EST

and research indicates that it HAD to be freshly killed meat to keep a bird in top condition, especially during training in the summer. You have to regulate their training and hunting weight. So we raised quail or trapped sparrows in bow nets. Sparrows get smart though and wake up to the fact that their comrades are getting offed as hawk food. In a pinch we would shoot grackels or starlings with pellet rifles. We never fed them purchased food that humans would eat.

localroger though says there are suppliers of meat that is tolerated by raptors. This would be fine for injured or captive birds I am sure of. But for raptors you are training for hunting and subsequently released in the wild at some point in the future I would not have taken any chances.

I tried falconry for a couple of years. But it is so labor intensive and exacting that I could not continue it. At any time that you are training or hunting with the bird, the possibility of the bird taking off on its own is always present. You can put hours and days of work into a bird just to have her fly off to freedom at a moments notice. This is not a sad thing but can be very frustrating. Also, the slightest neglect or mistake will definitely end in tragedy for the bird. To avoid this, means that you must dedicate ALL your spare time in daylight hours to the bird and the bird alone. For most people, this is too much .

[ Parent ]

Supermarket chicken (none / 0) (#58)
by catseye on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 02:51:31 PM EST

Supermarket chicken contains hormones, antibiotics and other additives that might not be healthy for the bird. Ever look at the label on brand name chicken or turkey? It's a pretty fair bet you'll see something like "Enhanced with up to 15% solution." That means that up to 15% of the weight of the bird is water, salt, preservatives, flavorings, chemicals, etc. [more]

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
hi catseye (none / 0) (#59)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 03:31:39 PM EST

Reply to this and you'll have 1000 comments on k5. ;)

This is why I stopped buying just any catfood, I found out about the ash thing.

Seriously though, sodium phosphate and sodium nitrate are both used as preservatives in the meat.  I find it hard to believe consumers are getting up in arms about having meat without preservatives (which will go bad sooner).

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Gotta reply then (none / 1) (#62)
by catseye on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 05:43:19 PM EST

My personal opinion is that I don't like paying for water, and I don't need the extra salt. Preservatives, I'm cool with. :)

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
no they dont (none / 0) (#99)
by randy007 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 05:57:17 PM EST

Supermarket chicken contains hormones, antibiotics and other additives that might not be healthy for the bird. Ever look at the label on brand name chicken or turkey? It's a pretty fair bet you'll see something like "Enhanced with up to 15% solution." That means that up to 15% of the weight of the bird is water, salt, preservatives, flavorings, chemicals, etc.

[ Parent ]
Very nice story. Its to bad that a lot of (2.33 / 3) (#61)
by chalchiuhtlicue2 on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 05:40:06 PM EST

people dont get the chance to see these magnificent birds. +1FP from me and thanks.

What about the wedgie? (none / 1) (#82)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 12:46:11 AM EST

The greatest bird in the sky has always been, for me, the Australian wedge-tailed eagle. I grew up on a farm watching them, and even now in the city I see them from time to time.

Americans may have trouble understanding the affection one can have for an eagle known colloquially as the "wedgie", but every true Australian knows what I'm talking about. You can't help but be impressed by a bird with a 2.5-meter wingspan and a beak that could rip your face off.

Except perhaps sheep farmers. The wedgie kills lambs, and sometimes attacks sheep. However, the wise farmer leaves the wedgies alone, because rabbits, the bane of Australia's farmers, are up to 90% of the eagle's usual diet.

Therefore, I find it unconscionable, sir, that you have left out such a significant and impressive eagle from your purported study of feathered killing machines.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

You are correct, I was remiss, forgiveness is (none / 1) (#85)
by mybostinks on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 01:19:05 AM EST

asked from you.

Do you have a link to what one looks like? I have never seen one.

[ Parent ]

There are many pictures on Google. (none / 1) (#89)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:19:27 AM EST

Here is a good action flyby shot, taken by someone living in my fair city of Canberra no less.

I particularly like this one, though. There are so many captions that could accompany that picture.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Great pictures! Thanks. (none / 0) (#92)
by agavero on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:35:26 PM EST


"Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge." Isaac Bashevis Singer
[ Parent ]
Another great photo, this time of a zombie eagle. (none / 0) (#90)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:22:42 AM EST

It is a little-known fact that wedgies occasionally rise from the dead and seek out the brains of the living, but here at last is unequivocal proof.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Carrion (none / 0) (#97)
by Achromatic on Thu Oct 05, 2006 at 01:36:42 AM EST

Not quite. From all accounts by speaking to birdkeepers at Healesville Sanctuary, including those who run the acclaimed Birds Of Prey show, wedges very very rarely attack even lambs. They are, however, not averse to a bit of carrion feeding from dead sheep.

[ Parent ]
You forgot about the owls. (none / 1) (#91)
by Entendre Entendre on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 02:45:21 AM EST

Also birds of prey, also equipped with big pointy powerful claws, and also pretty cool to watch in action. In my area there's a place where they can be seen around dusk sometimes. And there's one that can periodically be seen/heard shrieking from treetops around my neighborhood in the middle of the night. That bastard.

Raptors can be kept as pets, just not in the US (and probably other places) where laws forbid doing so. Modern practitioners say you shouldn't, but if you go back to Kazahkstan, where many believe the tradition really began, you'll find that some folks do.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.

I lived in Central Asia for a year... (3.00 / 2) (#93)
by CodeWright on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 03:52:42 PM EST

...and saw the Kyrgyz hunt wolves with their eagles.

While falconers there are a proud breed, their work is not idle hobby -- it is a matter of necessity because wolves routinely prey on flocks of sheep (often the sole livelihood of the nomadic Kyrgyz) and will even take down a stabled horse if they are hungry enough (I witnessed this).

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

Thanks kitten at least you are now (2.00 / 2) (#94)
by mybostinks on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:26:06 PM EST

commenting in my stories instead of only voting them down. I think that is a major accomplishment on my part quite frankly.

Cheers!

TAKE IT TO #MANSEX (none / 0) (#98)
by cDiss on Tue Oct 10, 2006 at 03:06:46 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Hahahahah! (3.00 / 2) (#95)
by binford2k on Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 05:23:36 AM EST

When I read "the One-eyed Pirate" in the first sentence I thought that it was a euphemism for your own cock and I thought where the FUCK is he going with this?

ROR (3.00 / 2) (#96)
by mybostinks on Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 07:50:57 AM EST

fooled you........

[ Parent ]
Harpy's. (none / 0) (#100)
by soje111 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:00:38 PM EST

You know, once you get them, you can never get rid of them.
SOJOURNER
Birds of Prey: The Feathered Killing Machines | 100 comments (74 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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