Thursday, 7 February 2013

History and Culture - Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk
Harris's Hawk is a medium-large brown bird of prey weighing about 2lbs and found in south-west United States and Central America.

John James Audubon gave this bird its English name in honour of his ornithological companion, financial supporter, and friend Edward Harris.

The bird is notable for its behaviour of hunting cooperatively in "packs", consisting of family groups while most other raptors hunt in solitary. They search the brush for birds and mammals.

If the unattended young are threatened whilst in the nest, they have a very unusual strategy to use as a deterrent. The young birds cooperate to form a pole-like structure with their bodies, with the youngest and smallest at the top. Some say that this formation is where the North American Indians got their inspiration for the totem pole!

Escaped falconry Harris's Hawks are frequently seen in Britain and one recently was proving to be a visitor attraction at our local Heaton Park in Manchester.

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