If you were in a group of people and asked each person what animal they would most like to be, then you could likely bank on the fact that few, if any, would want to be a bird. Most people associate birds with either domesticated fowl that is eaten or the small songbirds that flit around the yard. Yet if you really give it some thought, birds of prey are incredibly impressive. These birds are smart, fast and strong, and have keen senses. Let someone else choose to be a lion; if you go with a bird of prey you will definitely have the upper hand.
Birds of prey are a large group in the bird classification. You have the smaller falcons and hawks but you also have the “jumbo jets” of the family. The Eagle is an American icon. It is a huge bird that can have a wingspan of up to 96 inches and can weigh as much as 15 pounds. They are excellent hunters and can eat anything from fish to small mammals.
While the Eagle family has some of the largest birds, there are other groups that are predators as well. You have undoubtedly heard of people using falcons and hawks as game birds. This is not a reference to someone eating the birds but instead it is the birds that are used as hunting weapons. It is not easy to gentle a falcon or a hawk. These are wild birds that come equipped with razor sharp talons and beaks that can easily tear flesh. Gentling a hunting bird requires time and a lot of patience. They have to be trained to return to their coop or the hunter’s gloved arm.
Birds of prey are fascinating. If you consider how long they have been around and the abilities that they have, it is amazing that more people do not immediately consider this bird species as a viable contender for top animal. Their superior eyesight, ability to track minute movements and excellent hearing moves them to the top of the food chain in the animal kingdom. The only natural enemy of many of these birds is mankind. The more you learn about these birds, the greater respect you will have for their abilities. Hopefully, you will want to do everything you can to protect their habitats.