More and more raptors are becoming comfortable with living in urban environments. The juncos, finches and sparrows at feeders attract…
Sharp-shinned Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks in winter, but the Sharp-shinned leaves for the country life in spring. The Copper’s stick around.
In my own city garden, I have seen a variety of raptors from the small American Kestrel to the large Red-tailed hawk. In recent years, there has been an increase in raptor activity in the garden which I attribute to two things I noticed. Due to drought and dry meadows, the meadow plants produced less berry and nut that songbirds depend on for winter sustenance, driving more of them to feeders. This in turn means more hungry hawks.
Trees also suffered in our droughts and their response is to seed more when stressed. Many older city trees are fruit or seed bearing and this provides a windfall for birds. Ornamental flowering trees are most popular. Cities have been making an effort to replace seed bearing trees due to sidewalk mess. I think this may be good city planning in one respect, but a poor decision for wildlife.
If you follow GWGT, you have seen quite a few raptors that visit my small urban garden. What hazards do they incur when they come downtown?
Bounty and Danger
As nice as it is to see raptors in urban gardens, accidental poisoning is a common cause of death among urban hawks. The culprit, sadly, is most often rodenticides used by building managers and even homeowners. Is this a case of a problem with limited solution?
Another raptor in jeopardy is our American Bald Eagle. What is killing them is feeding on dead prey loaded with lead pellets from fishermen and hunters. After posting all the eagle photos recently, I got more involved in knowing more about them and dead eagles have been occurring almost daily. Poisoning in the case of both raptors, and the only way to prevent this is for people to change the choices they make.