Parker County Today October 2016 - Page 52

OCTOBER 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY Enraputured with Raptors From almost anywhere in North America, you can look up and expect to see a Bird of Prey soaring overhead. They have adapted to survive in many different habitats. From the urban Peregrine Falcons that return to Baltimore skyscrapers to nest every year to the mighty California Condo, an endangered species struggling to survive, Birds of Prey are found clear across the country. Birds of Prey are exactly what they sound like – any bird that pursues other animals for food. Birds of Prey are distinguished by their hook-tipped beaks and sharped claws called talons, which allow them to grip and catch their prey. One of the most striking Birds of Prey are Owls. In North America there are at least 19 species of owls, in north central Texas there are 4 species that are here year round; the Barred Owl, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, and the Screech Owl. Owls are somewhat elusive as the majority of them hunt at night. This allows them some protection from human predators. You may hear the “hoot hoot” in the darkness but often may not be able to pin point it’s exact location. The sound alone is thrilling! Most owls have peaks of activity at dawn and dusk. At dusk, the owl will leave its quiet roost and move to its perch, which allows for a perfect view of its hunting ground. From here, there may be a brief period of song (varies from deep hoots to chirps, whistles and warbles), a half hour or so of foraging and more song. Throughout 50 Owl family BY THE WILD BIRD CENTER WEATHERFORD, TX Baby Barn Owl