Avian Desert Predators by William E. Cook

By William E. Cook

Birds usually are not really well matched to abandon lifestyles. not like mammals, they're usually lively through the day and don't often pass underground to flee the serious desolate tract warmth. one of the few sorts of birds that experience effectively invaded the wasteland surroundings are the predators. Many species of hawks, owls, roadrunners, vultures, and shrikes live on rather well in deserts. What attributes make this staff specifically suited for desolate tract existence? How have they augmented their talents to deal with the cruel constraints imposed via the barren region habitat? those are one of the matters explored during this new quantity, which brings jointly a lot of the present study on diversifications of avian wilderness predators.

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The act of raising the feathers to "ventilate" the body, or allow air to conduct heat away from the skin, is also a fairly common cooling technique among rap tors in warm situations (Palmer 1988b). Nighttime activity is another way to avoid desert heat, and even though hawks and their allies are typically diurnal, there are a few exceptions where nocturnal activity allows some of these rap tors to avoid thermal stress. Harriers, of the genus Circus, are able to hunt at night and avoid desert midday heat, because they have evolved owl-like features that permit hunting by sound (Rice 1982).

1988). In other situations, where both nestlings are the same sex, or a male hatches before a female, the size difference is not significant and each nestling would have an equal chance of survival. Edwards et al. assert that Golden Eagles in Idaho, North America, have a male-biased sex ratio of nestlings that is altered towards an even ratio when such periods of decreased food availability occur. 3 Cooperative Breeding In desert areas, cover and concealment for nest sites is minimal. Some desert raptors breed in cooperative groups so that there are more than two adults to defend the nest from predators.

Predatory Behavior in Hawks and Allies 35 Fig. 7. Although Swainson's Hawks are primarily insect eaters, as an adaptation to desert resources, young birds, such as this fledgling in Montana, USA, are fed a larger proportion of mice to meet their growth requirements. 2 Agility and Diverse Hunting Strategies A raptor with a predictable food source may be able to survive with a limited set of hunting skills. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), for example, may obtain their entire diet by perching or flying over water and catching fish in their talons.

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