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News Story
Updated: 06/18/2014 12:15:20AM

Birds of prey not always respected

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

The bald eagle, our national bird, was once hunted along with other birds of prey, because it was believed they reduced the numbers of game birds. Today all birds of prey are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Protection Act and the endangered species act.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

The barn owl dines mostly on rodents, but was once shot indiscriminately because it was believed they ate game birds and domestic fowl. While they occasionally kill birds—it is usually sick or weak ones that they target.


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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

Magnificent birds of prey, such as this osprey have keen eyesight and can detect movement from high in the air. They dive with talons extended and hit their target with enough force to kill instantly.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

The red-shouldered hawk is our most common hawk. We have both migratory and resident populations. Hawks dine primarily on reptiles, amphibians and small rodents.

By Karen Smoke

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Today, few people fail to recognize the importance of birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls. All of these birds are protected by conservation laws today, but it was not always the case.

We came across a 1936 publication of the Emergency Conservation Commission (New York) titled “Framing” The Birds of Prey, by Davis Quinn. This fifth edition was a revision of the original 1929 publication. At the time, birds of prey were routinely hunted because it was believed they were responsible for a reduction in game birds and they preyed on domestic fowl. The author noted that “… especially since the war [WWI], these birds have been the victims of the propaganda of sportsmen’s associations and magazines….”

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