Thursday, September 24, 2015

Broad-winged Hawk

Erika and I observed two flocks of five Broad-winged Hawks on Wednesday, 23 September 2015. The first flock flew over Northfield in Rice County; the second flew over the nearby Carleton College arboretum in Dakota County. They could have been the same birds (although the second flock was about a mile north of the first). These hawks often migrate in flocks of up to thousands of individuals. Only rarely does one notice single migrants.

This photo of a juvenal bird is of one of the arboretum flock. Adults show a striking black and white banded tail.  In most studies, small mammals. birds and amphibians are their main prey. They are generalized predators, and take a wide variety of prey items. To me, it looked like the arboretum birds might be feeding on flying dragonflies. Although these hawks are known to take insects like grasshoppers, Gooddrich et al. (2014), in The Birds of North America, do not mention dragonflies.

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