Are you ready to help the great state of Texas in this year’s Spring Hawk Watch? The time of year has come again and the hawks are out in abundance. There are many species of hawks that are found in the state of Texas but keeping track of them and being able to keep a proper count helps with the balance of the environment. Birds of prey are a big part in keeping a check on the balance and if they start to diminish it can indicate a larger problem with the food chain and the circle of life.
When is the spring hawk watch? If you want to take part in this year’s Spring Hawk Watch there is still time to participate. The event goes from the first day in March through the end of April with events running in the morning until around midday. You don’t need to be scientist but just have an enthusiasm for the outdoors and care for the beautiful birds of prey or raptors. The only thing you want to bring to make sure that you are contributing is a pair of binoculars and some comfort items such as a hat and water. You will be there to help count and document the population of raptors that fly past the watch area so you also should have some knowledge about the birds that you may be sighting.
Sharped Shinned Hawk – This is one of the smaller hawks that you will see around the watch area. It has long legs, long tail and short wings and can be identified by those characteristics. They are normally a blue grey color and have a red or orange marking on their belly. They can be found flying high and on the lookout for small prey food to eat.
Coopers Hawk – This hawk is slightly larger than a sharp shinned hawk but can be confused with identification because they have very similar coloring and shape. The coopers hawk is a great flyer and can be seen soaring high and fast. They have a flap, flap fly pattern where they use few beats of the wings then glide where they need to go. They can be seen chasing after other smaller birds for a meal.
Red Tailed Hawk – The red tailed hawk is one of the most commonly sighted hawks in the area. The larger female can reach up to four pounds while the males reach just under three pounds. They are easily identified by their red colored tail that lets them stand apart from other hawks in the area.
Join Texas Heritage Protection at this year’s Spring Hawk Watch 2016! Check out http://tpwd.texas.gov/calendar/bentsen-rio-grande-valley/spring-hawk-watch/2016-04-20 for more info!