Harris's Hawk

1/1250s at f8.0, ISO 1000, Canon EOS-1D X w/800mm

The Harris's hawk is notable for its behavior of hunting cooperatively in packs consisting of tolerant groups, while other raptors often hunt alone. It is the Harris's hawk's intelligence, which leads to a social nature that results in easier training and has led to the Harris's hawk to become a popular bird for use in falconry. This species occurs in relatively stable groups. A dominance hierarchy occurs in Harris's hawks, wherein the mature female is at the dominant bird, followed by the adult male and then the young of previous years. Groups typically include from 2 to 7 birds. Not only do birds cooperate in hunting, they also assist in the nesting process. No other bird of prey is known to hunt in groups as routinely as this species. The diet of the Harris's hawk consists of small creatures including birds, lizards, mammals, and large insects. Because it often hunts in groups, the Harris's hawk can also take down larger prey. Very often, there will be three hawks attending one nest: two males and one female. The female does most of the incubation. The eggs hatch in 31 to 36 days. The young begin to explore outside the nest at 38 days, and fledge, or start to fly, at 45 to 50 days. The female sometimes breeds two or three times in a year.
Near Salt River