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Snow Owl July 2003


The northern hawk owl (Surnia ulula) is a fairly common bird of the boreal forest in Alaska . It is, however, subject to population fluctuations and may at times be rare. It occurs throughout the forested areas of the interior, southcentral, and southwestern (including the Kodiak archipelago) parts of the state. The species has a circumpolar distribution from Norway , across the Soviet Union , through Alaska , and into eastern Canada . The owl is a local resident and does not regularly migrate; however, it is subject to food related movements which can cause it to be found outside its normal range. Due to population irruptions it may be found almost anywhere in the state. The owl is atypical of most owls because it hunts during daylight hours, using sight more than hearing to locate its prey.


Ospreys are fish hawks that have brown and white markings on their feathers. They can soar on wind currents, but most of their flight is active (with wings flapping.) Ospreys hunt alone, flying over the water looking for fish. Then they plunge into the water feet-first and grab the fish with powerful talons (claws.) Ospreys need to catch about 1 - 3 fish a day. A father osprey, who must fish for 2-3 babies and a mate, has to catch 6-8 fish a day. Ospreys are specially built to be fish-hunters. For one thing, the bottoms of their feet have many short spines which help them to hang onto a slimy fish. Ospreys have extremely sharp talons and a strong hooked beak for tearing fish into bite-sized pieces. They also have oily feathers which help keep them dry when they splash into the water.
The Osprey Pandion haliaetus, also known as the fishing eagle or fish hawk, is featured on the Canadian $10 bill. One of the most widely distributed birds in the world, the Osprey is found on ocean coasts and along the shorelines of large lakes and rivers on all continents and islands, except those in the polar and subpolar regions where water surfaces are frozen for most of the year, and a few very isolated islands in temperate and tropical zones.

The Northern Goshawk is legendary for its ferocity, beauty and amazing flight skills. In ancient Persia it was called Baz-Nama, the King Hawk, and in medieval Europe it was the most prized of all falconry hawks. Linnaeus named it Accipiter gentilis in the 16th century, for its nobility (gentilis) and awesome ability to seize (accipere) squirrels, rabbits, birds, and other prey on the fly.
In North America , goshawks inhabit most mature forests types west of the continental divide from Canada and Alaska through every western state into southern Mexico (range map). East of the divide, they are largely restricted to southern Canada and the northern U.S. 
While most hawks soar and dive over open meadows, streams, tundra, estuaries or coastlines, goshawks are more likely to be seen within forests, darting through the trees beneath the canopy. Over hundreds of thousands of years, they have developed short, powerful wings and protective eye tufts which enable them to fly (mostly unscathed) through the forest understory and canopy in pursuit of songbirds and squirrels. Their long, rudder-like tails gives them a acrobatic ability to spin around trees and quickly dive under shrubs and brush.

The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth. 
Peregrine falcons are primarily cliff dwellers, but will nest in hollow trees as well.
How fast you ask? Well, some time back I was watching a nature show about a guy that trains Peregrines. At the time the world record was like 180 mph. He wanted to see just how fast they really could go, now that technology had advanced so far, that real clockings could be attained. His favorite was named, Fear or Fate…something like that. During the show it was clocked at around 260 mph! And if that was not fast enough, at the end of the show, it stated that in further tests, the bird was clocked at over 300 mph! So, when you see various sources listing this bird’s speed at around 200 mph, you know they are out of date! – Snow Owl  


The red-shouldered hawk makes its nest in deciduous forests and swamps. The bird generally nests about 20 to 60 feet above the ground, in the crotch of hardwood trees in wet woodland areas. Nests are large and deep, constructed from sticks, twigs, shredded bark, leaves and green sprigs. When not in its nest, Buteo lineatus often perches on the top of dead trees in order to have an unimpeded view of the forest floor.
Red-shouldered hawks in New England and the Great Lakes Region migrate south during the fall, returning north when summer arrives.$narrative.html


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