Thursday, October 6, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Harris Hawk

The Harris Hawk (or Harris's Hawk) is a Southern Arizona raptor that is also found year round in Southern New Mexico and Western Texas as well as throughout Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay.

It is one of the few "family-oriented" raptors, often hunting in family groups up to 8 or so.

It is also a raptor prized by "falconers" since it can be trained. I remember watching the Clive Owen film "King Arthur" where Tristan has a "falcon" that rides on his shoulder. Of course knowing Harris Hawks as I do, I recognized it immediately and thought, "Gee, they didn't have Harris Hawks in England -- and certainly not in the times of King Arthur." 

That reminds me of a Clint Eastwood western movie that begins with a Turkey Vulture soaring over the desert making loud rasping calls. I recognized the call to be that of a Harris Hawk. (Actually, Turkey Vultures have no vocal organs and make no sounds). The "more" to this story is that a frequent guest of ours (she has since passed), was a close friend to Clint Eastwood. I told her about the "error" in Clint's movie. The next time she came she said she asked Clint about it. And, Clint leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Darlin' nobody will know the difference."  I guess movie directors can take whatever liberties they want, right?

Here then a photo of a Harris Hawk that is sitting on a telephone pole with a small branch it had collected for it's nest:

Harris Hawk

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