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What Is It?
Predatory birds are different bird species that feed on other animals. They are usually classified into Strigiformes, an order containing the various species of owl, and Falconiformes such as hawks, vultures, eagles or falcons. Falconiformes are also called raptors, a term that comes from the Latin ‘rapere’ which means to seize or take by force. Unlike owls, which are mostly nocturnal predators. All birds of prey have special natural adaptations. Predatory birds also have incredible eyesight and can track prey while in-flight. The largest and strongest of these birds is the eagle and the condors, which is a species of vulture. The Andean condor can weigh up to 33 pounds with a wingspan of almost 11 feet. What other predatory birds lack in size, they make up for in speed. The peregrine falcon is acknowledged as the fastest member of the animal kingdom.
Number 4 Falcon
Conservationists at Ohio’s Toledo University tried to tag young falcons. Their helmet cameras recorded the moments when the falcons would swoop down at them talons bared. In a routine procedure, the chicks would be taken from their nests to be weighed, take samples and clamp them with an ID band and then be returned to the nests. Since birds have a poor sense of smell, there wouldn’t be any chance of the parent falcons rejecting the chicks after they were handled by humans.
Where Is It Located?
Birds of prey are widespread across the world’s continents with the exception of Antarctica. Falconiforms can be found from equatorial to Arctic regions in a wide variety of habitats ranging from coastal shores and tropical forests to stark desert regions. They tend to prefer warm open country although many are adapted to forest life. Owls can be found on every continent, except Antarctica and on most oceanic islands. Certain species such as the barn owl or the short-eared owl are among the world’s most widely distributed birds. People have always had a fascination with birds of prey. In Greek mythology the owl was the bird of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, while the golden eagle was regarded as a messenger of Zeus.
Number 3 Golden Eagle & Girl
Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan are four golden eagles recruited by the French air force. Named after Alexandre Duma’s Three Musketeers, these birds were specifically trained at the 118 Airforce base at Mont-de-Marsan. Golden eagles have a grip strength far superior to that of human beings and can spot a drone several thousands of feet away.
The harpy eagle has the largest talons of all the living eagle species. A predatory bird’s grip strength comes from the leg muscles and tendons. The grip of a bald eagle has been measured as around 10 times stronger than that of an adult human. The golden eagle is one of the world’s most formidable aerial predators and has even been known to take on adult deer or caribou. The African crowned eagle has been described as the ‘leopard of the air’.
Number 2 Eagle & 7-year-old Boy
While attending a birds of prey show at the Alice Springs Desert Park in Central Australia, a large wedge-tailed eagle swooped down on a 7 year-old boy. The boy was wearing a camouflage hoodie. One of the people attending the show photographed the moment when the massive bird tried to grab on to the boy’s head. Tourist Keenan Lucas claimed that it looked as if it was trying to pick him up and carry him off like a small animal.
If a predatory bird swoops on you, the first thing to do is protect your eyes. Try grabbing a branch and holding it above your head as a swooping bird that’s protecting its territory will often go for the highest point of whatever it’s chasing off.
Number 1 Hawk & Jogger
Andy Llewellyn had reached the halfway mark on his regular 5k run when he heard the flapping of wings and felt a strong hit at the back of his head. What he initially believed had been a mugger was actually a Harris hawk. Llewellyn jokingly told a media outlet that the bird had actually done him a favor because it helped him beat his personal best. The experience didn’t deter the 44-year-old from his normal running routine, but he did vow to change his route and wear a protective hat in the future.