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Northern Hawk Owl

The only living member of its genus
© Michael Klotz View Large

The Northern Hawk Owl is one of the least studied and least known of all birds in North America. Northern Hawk Owls are owls, but they share several traits with hawks and falcons: A streamlined body shape, daytime hunting habits, and stiff wing feathers for daytime hunting. (Owls that hunt at night have soft edges on their wing feathers, so they can hunt without making a sound.) No fossil relatives of the Northern Hawk Owl have yet been found, and it is the only living member of its genus. Which only adds to its allure.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Northern Hawk Owls Hunt in the Boreal Forest

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
It’s a summer morning, a day when the sun’s light will linger for 18 hours or more over the northern spruce woods of Canada.
A bird of prey perches upright on a small spruce tree, its dark brown back to us.  [Northern Hawk Owl call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/138211, 0.09-.11]
Scanning the landscape for prey, the raptor suddenly lifts off and sprints through the air, low to the ground, on rapid thrusts of pointed wings. It has the speed of a falcon and a long tail like a forest-hunting hawk.
Grasping the prey in its talons, the bird finally turns towards us. It has the face of an owl: broad, pale, and framed by a bold, black border, with blazing yellow eyes that face forward. It’s a Northern Hawk Owl.
[Northern Hawk Owl call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/138211, 0.09-.11]
    Although it truly is an owl, it has several similarities to hawks and falcons. A streamlined body shape; daytime hunting habits; and stiff wing feathers for the powered flight of daytime hunting.  Owls that hunt at night have soft edges on their wing feathers, so they can hunt without making a sound.
[Northern Hawk Owl call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/61801, 5.18-5.20]
No fossil relatives of the Northern Hawk Owl have yet been found, and it is the only living member of its genus. It is unique in the world, widely dispersed in remote places. One of the least studied, least known of all birds on the continent.
Which only adds to its allure.
For BirdNote I’m Mary McCann.
[Northern Hawk Owl call, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/138211, 0.09-.11]
###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Northern Hawk Owl [138211] recorded by Gerrit Vyn.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org    June 2018   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  NHOW-01-2016-06-13    NHOW-01


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