Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Favorites

 I am a great fan of the birds of prey, so for the letter G I am going to share three of my favorites, one from each of three categories.

The Goshawk.  A native of Great Britain, this is a large powerful hawk, capable of easily killing a large hare (or jackrabbit like we have here).  Like most hawks this one hunts from a perch, or a falconer's fist and chases the prey.  Big and strong enough to chase a hare through dense underbrush this was the hawk of the workman back when falconry was a way to eat, not a sport. This hunter was a favorite. 

The Gyrfalcon.  Again a native of Great Britain and parts of Europe.  Trapping, taming or hunting with this falcon was punishable by death.  This was the falcon for kings only.  Falcons hunt by hovering over an area - called "waiting on" - and watching for prey to become visible when they dive on the animal.   Gyrfalcons would accompany the royal courts on their hunts, following the horses and dogs.

The Golden Eagle.  Native to North America, this bird is a common sight in the west.  They prefer to nest on high cliffs and cruise the canyons looking for prey.  Despite their size and noble appearance eagles have never been admired by falconers.  Disappointing as it may be, most eagles are not exceptional hunters and often eat carrion.

1 comment:

  1. What beautiful birds! Yes, it's funny how eagles are closer to vultures in their eating habits, except for the snatching fish out of the water--hehe! They soar like vultures, too--hehe! Hawks--falcons--owls--they're true hunters. :):)