Loading

Birds of prey my photos, my words

During my many photo hikes I often encounter what are known as birds of prey (the subject of my featured gallery for July), typically large birds with keen eyesight and strong talons and beaks that feed on rodents and other animals. I usually see these birds soaring over fields, searching for movement that can identify a meal. They swoop down, grab the food and fly off.

But “birds of prey” isn’t an official, scientific taxonomic group. Instead, it’s a loosely defined term used to identify birds that feed on animals and — at times — birds that feed on insects. Using that description, just about any bird could be called a bird of prey.

A Red-shouldered Hawk perches on a cypress knob in Six Mile Cypress Slough, Fort Myers, Fla.

I use what I consider a more traditional definition, including only birds that regularly hunt and consume animals as birds of prey. But nature websites are even mixed on that definition, with some including vultures in the group. Vultures dine on carrion (dead animals), so I further define my personal “birds of prey” classification to include birds that feed primarily on living animals.

A Red-tailed Hawk eats a snake, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

That leaves me with a more focused grouping that includes birds like eagles, hawks, osprey, owls, falcons, kites, etc.

A Cooper's Hawk perches in a tree in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

My photographs from here in Central Ohio include three types of hawks (the Red-tailed, the Sharp-shinned and the Cooper’s), owls and an occasional osprey. I have seen Bald Eagles flying in the area but I haven’t photographed one here. Same with kestrels, small falcons that I occasionally see perched on power lines when I’m driving somewhere. I’ve only seen one when I have a camera with me, but it saw me first and left.

When we are along Lake Erie in Northern Ohio each spring to photograph migrating warblers I often see Bald Eagles and osprey.

Bald Eagle flying over wetlands, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.

And when we are in Southwest Florida in the winter I see Red-shouldered Hawks, osprey, kites and Bald Eagles. I don’t have photos of Swallow-tailed Kites yet. We saw several flying in Florida last February. Their four-foot wingspan and swallow tail make the white birds distinctive in flight.

I add a new featured gallery the first of each month. The numbers in the gallery title represent the month and year it was featured. Previous featured galleries are in the archives.

A Red-tailed Hawk calls while flying over Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.
A Red-shouldered Hawk perches on a cypress knob in Six Mile Cypress Slough, Fort Myers, Fla.
A Red-tailed Hawk eats a snake, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A Cooper's Hawk perches in a tree in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Bald Eagle flying over wetlands, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Barred Owl in a tree, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A Red-tailed Hawk grapples with a snake in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Immature Bald Eagle on limb, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
A close view of a Cooper's Hawk, Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A bald eagle perches on a tree limb near its nest in Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
An immature Red-tailed Hawk perches on a limb in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An osprey carrying nesting material flies over in J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Fla.
A Red-shouldered Hawk's feather colors and details are visible from its perch in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples, Fla.
A Red-tailed Hawk eyes a snake it is battling, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A pair of immature Great Horned Owls watch the area from a tree in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.
A nesting pair of ospreys stays alert in J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Fla.
A Red-tailed Hawk perches on the roof of a shelter, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A Sharp-shinned Hawk perches on a limb, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A Bald Eagle perches in its nest in Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
A close look at a Red-shoulderred Hawk in Six Mile Cypress Slough, Fort Myers, Fla.
An osprey perches on a limb in J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Fla.
An immature Bald Eagle perches on a limb beside Lake Erie in East Harbor State Park, Lakeside Marblehead, Ohio.
A Cooper's Hawk is framed by limbs in Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A Red-tailed Hawk holds a snake on a limb, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Red-tailed Hawk above wetlands, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A Barred Owl perches in the woods, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An immature Cooper's Hawk perches on a limb in Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A Red-tailed Hawk perches on a nesting box, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A Red-shouldered Hawk looks back while perched on a limb in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples, Fla.
An osprey flies over J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Fla.
A Cooper's Hawk perches on a limb on a winter morning, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An osprey stands on its nest atop of light pole in Scioto Audubon Park, Columbus, Ohio.
An immature Red-tailed Hawk looks back, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Immature Bald Eagle taking flight, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
A Bald Eagle flies over Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
A nesting pair of Red-shouldered Hawks perch together on a limb in Colonial Country Club Preserve, Fort Myers, Fla.
An osprey calls from its nest in J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Fla.
A Barred Owl is framed by limbs and leaves, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Click on a photo to see a larger version.
Created By
Pat Hemlepp
Appreciate

Credits:

All photos and text © Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.