Description

Mass General Law, Part I, Title XIX, Chapter 131, Section 75A: A person, unless he holds a special permit or license issued by the director, shall not hunt or have in his possession a bird of prey. No person shall take, molest, disturb, destroy or have in his possession the nest or eggs of any such bird, unless otherwise authorized by the director.

Raptors or birds of prey are a species of bird which primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. Additionally, they have keen eyesight for detecting food at a distance or during flight, strong feet equipped with talons for grasping or killing prey, and powerful, curved beaks for tearing flesh. In addition to hunting live prey, most also eat carrion, at least occasionally, and vultures and condors eat carrion as their main food source.(Source: Answering the Call of the Wild, by Erin Luther; Toronto Wildlife Center)

North American species range in size from the elf owl of the southwest weighing 1.4 ounces with a wingspan of 10.5 inches to the California condor with a wingspan of 9.8 feet weighing 26 pounds.Wikipedia

 


Habitat

Nesting varies by species. Typically hawks and eagles build large, elaborate nests in trees or on other tall structures, such as human-installed poles, buildings and rock platforms. Falcons nest in natural or man-made crevices or on platforms or trees. Owls do not build their own nests but use either existing cavities or platforms, or usurp nests built by other birds or squirrels. Osprey nest in a tree-top or rocky platform near water. Some raptors, such as short-eared owls, snowy owls and northern harriers, nest on the ground. (Source: Answering the Call of the Wild, by Erin Luther; Toronto Wildlife Center)

Behavior

Generally one brood per year is produced, with a clutch of  2-6 eggs. Some raptors lay their eggs over a period of days thus the eggs will hatch over an interval and chicks of different ages may be in the nest. Parental care is typically done by both male and female. In many species the male feeds the female who primarily broods and cares for the nestlings.

Diseases

Salmonella – can be transmitted to humans if they handle sick or dead birds that are carrying the disease. Gloves should always be worn when handling birds and cleaned thoroughly after working with feeders or bird baths.

Trichomoniasis – infected prey may be eaten by a raptor and the disease transmitted.

Source: MassAudubon

Resources

Answering the Call of the Wild, by Erin Luther; Toronto Wildlife Center)

MassAudubon

Wikipedia

Hawk Watch International)

Hotline Info

Remind the caller that Mass General Law states: A person, unless he holds a special permit or license issued by the director, shall not hunt or have in his possession a bird of prey. No person shall take, molest, disturb, destroy or have in his possession the nest or eggs of any such bird, unless otherwise authorized by the director.

Birds of prey, when threatened flip onto their backs displaying their talons as a warning to someone approaching. If a fledgling were healthy it would attempt to fly or escape. A bird displaying this defensive posture most likely is in need of rescue. Direct handling should be avoided when a bird assumes this position.

Raptors are powerful and sensitive creatures. You should always contact a rehabilitator before attempting to help injured wildlife to prevent from injuring yourself or the animal. Wild animals need specific diets, and if they are dehydrated they will need to be rehydrated by a rehabilitator before eating solid foods.  Follow the steps below if you find an injured raptor in the wild.

  1. Is the raptor injured? Determine that, in fact, the raptor is injured. If the raptor does not fly away when it is approached by humans and it does not have food (raptors may not fly away from people if they are protecting their food or babies), look for any obvious broken bones, bleeding, or external parasites such as maggots or flies. You should NOT touch the raptor unless absolutely necessary. Ensure that it is safe from cars, cats, dogs, and other people. If it is in the road, you may have to move it to the side before it can be rescued (see below for how to handle a raptor).
  2. Who do I contact? You should contact the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, your state’s department of wildlife resources, or a wildlife rehabilitator in your area for assistance. Visit the Wildlife International website for a full list of rehabilitators in your area.
  3. Should I care for the raptor? You want to contact the appropriate authorities as quickly as possible and protect the raptor from cats, dogs, and other animals until assistance has arrived (see below for how to handle a raptor if you have to transport it to a rehabilitator). You should NOT try to rehabilitate any animal on your own, as you may cause further damage or imprint upon the raptor.

Advice

How to Handle a Raptor to Transport to a Rehabilitator

Before you attempt to move a raptor, be sure to have the following things ready: an old towel, thick work gloves, safety glasses, something to transport the bird in (cat or dog kennels work best, but a sturdy box will do).

  1. Put the towel over the bird, the darkness will calm the bird more.
  2. Wearing your gloves and safety glasses to protect you from their sharp beak and talons, gently take hold of the raptor by keeping the birds wings close to its body (unless the raptor has clearly suffered an injury to the wing), and keeping your hands out of reach of the raptors talons.
  3. Place the raptor inside the kennel or box. Ensure that the box has plenty of air holes for ventilation. It is best to have a box that is slightly bigger than the raptor, if it is too small the raptor can do serious damage to its feathers and wings and if it is too large it is possible for the raptor to hurt itself by thrashing around.
  4. Keep the box in a dark safe place away from animals and children until it is time for it to be transported.(Source: Hawk Watch International)

 

Actionable

What To Do If You Find an Injured Raptor

In general a raptor will not let a human approach it while on the ground unless it is injured or guarding a kill. If you find an injured raptor it is important to keep your distance from the bird. Raptors have extremely sharp talons and powerful feet (a Red-tailed Hawk can squeeze its foot with 160 lbs. of pressure compared to a person who can squeeze their hand with 35-40 lbs. of pressure), and so they can do quite a bit of damage.

(Source: Hawk Watch International)

Raptors – Birds of Prey

Description

Mass General Law, Part I, Title XIX, Chapter 131, Section 75A: A person, unless he holds a special permit or license issued by the director, shall not hunt or have in his possession a bird of prey. No person shall take, molest, disturb, destroy or have in his possession the nest or eggs of any such bird, unless otherwise authorized by the director.

Raptors or birds of prey are a species of bird which primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. Additionally, they have keen eyesight for detecting food at a distance or during flight, strong feet equipped with talons for grasping or killing prey, and powerful, curved beaks for tearing flesh. In addition to hunting live prey, most also eat carrion, at least occasionally, and vultures and condors eat carrion as their main food source.(Source: Answering the Call of the Wild, by Erin Luther; Toronto Wildlife Center)

North American species range in size from the elf owl of the southwest weighing 1.4 ounces with a wingspan of 10.5 inches to the California condor with a wingspan of 9.8 feet weighing 26 pounds.Wikipedia

 

Habitat
Behavior
Diseases
Resources
Habitat

Nesting varies by species. Typically hawks and eagles build large, elaborate nests in trees or on other tall structures, such as human-installed poles, buildings and rock platforms. Falcons nest in natural or man-made crevices or on platforms or trees. Owls do not build their own nests but use either existing cavities or platforms, or usurp nests built by other birds or squirrels. Osprey nest in a tree-top or rocky platform near water. Some raptors, such as short-eared owls, snowy owls and northern harriers, nest on the ground. (Source: Answering the Call of the Wild, by Erin Luther; Toronto Wildlife Center)

Behavior

Generally one brood per year is produced, with a clutch of  2-6 eggs. Some raptors lay their eggs over a period of days thus the eggs will hatch over an interval and chicks of different ages may be in the nest. Parental care is typically done by both male and female. In many species the male feeds the female who primarily broods and cares for the nestlings.

Diseases

Salmonella - can be transmitted to humans if they handle sick or dead birds that are carrying the disease. Gloves should always be worn when handling birds and cleaned thoroughly after working with feeders or bird baths.

Trichomoniasis - infected prey may be eaten by a raptor and the disease transmitted.

Source: MassAudubon

Resources

Answering the Call of the Wild, by Erin Luther; Toronto Wildlife Center)

MassAudubon

Wikipedia

Hawk Watch International)

Hotline Info

Remind the caller that Mass General Law states: A person, unless he holds a special permit or license issued by the director, shall not hunt or have in his possession a bird of prey. No person shall take, molest, disturb, destroy or have in his possession the nest or eggs of any such bird, unless otherwise authorized by the director.

Birds of prey, when threatened flip onto their backs displaying their talons as a warning to someone approaching. If a fledgling were healthy it would attempt to fly or escape. A bird displaying this defensive posture most likely is in need of rescue. Direct handling should be avoided when a bird assumes this position.

Raptors are powerful and sensitive creatures. You should always contact a rehabilitator before attempting to help injured wildlife to prevent from injuring yourself or the animal. Wild animals need specific diets, and if they are dehydrated they will need to be rehydrated by a rehabilitator before eating solid foods.  Follow the steps below if you find an injured raptor in the wild.

  1. Is the raptor injured? Determine that, in fact, the raptor is injured. If the raptor does not fly away when it is approached by humans and it does not have food (raptors may not fly away from people if they are protecting their food or babies), look for any obvious broken bones, bleeding, or external parasites such as maggots or flies. You should NOT touch the raptor unless absolutely necessary. Ensure that it is safe from cars, cats, dogs, and other people. If it is in the road, you may have to move it to the side before it can be rescued (see below for how to handle a raptor).
  2. Who do I contact? You should contact the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, your state's department of wildlife resources, or a wildlife rehabilitator in your area for assistance. Visit the Wildlife International website for a full list of rehabilitators in your area.
  3. Should I care for the raptor? You want to contact the appropriate authorities as quickly as possible and protect the raptor from cats, dogs, and other animals until assistance has arrived (see below for how to handle a raptor if you have to transport it to a rehabilitator). You should NOT try to rehabilitate any animal on your own, as you may cause further damage or imprint upon the raptor.

Advice

How to Handle a Raptor to Transport to a Rehabilitator

Before you attempt to move a raptor, be sure to have the following things ready: an old towel, thick work gloves, safety glasses, something to transport the bird in (cat or dog kennels work best, but a sturdy box will do).

  1. Put the towel over the bird, the darkness will calm the bird more.
  2. Wearing your gloves and safety glasses to protect you from their sharp beak and talons, gently take hold of the raptor by keeping the birds wings close to its body (unless the raptor has clearly suffered an injury to the wing), and keeping your hands out of reach of the raptors talons.
  3. Place the raptor inside the kennel or box. Ensure that the box has plenty of air holes for ventilation. It is best to have a box that is slightly bigger than the raptor, if it is too small the raptor can do serious damage to its feathers and wings and if it is too large it is possible for the raptor to hurt itself by thrashing around.
  4. Keep the box in a dark safe place away from animals and children until it is time for it to be transported.(Source: Hawk Watch International)

 

Actionable

What To Do If You Find an Injured Raptor

In general a raptor will not let a human approach it while on the ground unless it is injured or guarding a kill. If you find an injured raptor it is important to keep your distance from the bird. Raptors have extremely sharp talons and powerful feet (a Red-tailed Hawk can squeeze its foot with 160 lbs. of pressure compared to a person who can squeeze their hand with 35-40 lbs. of pressure), and so they can do quite a bit of damage.

(Source: Hawk Watch International)