Flying predators

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catskilljohn
Posts: 4316
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Flying predators

Post by catskilljohn »

I know we all enjoy seeing eagles, and in the last 10 years they have made a comeback. Around here, and everywhere I travel actually the red tailed hawk is become as common as the robin, and the way I see it, will probably overtake it in numbers. As of late I am seeing less rabbits, squirrels, song birds and small mammals, but more and more raptors. I was picking sticks off my lawn tonight and the remains of 2 robins were evident on the front lawn.

My question is, what keeps the raptors in check? When we were spraying DDT around and walking with loaded shotguns on the roads, I imagine they got their butt's kicked regular, but what about now? When there are more raptors than blue jays, what then? You think they will ever be so common we can use them for fly tying? CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

corvus
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:05 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota

Re: Flying predators

Post by corvus »

Lead.

Lead BB's for the Eagles and Owls (and ducks) and condors, lead fishing gear for the Ospreys. A quick check with the Raptor Center here in MN will satisfiy you that there is plenty of stuff "keeping them in check."

As for your robins..... do the neighbors have a cat? Cats kill hundreds of thousands of birds evey year....

Bamboo&Brookies
Posts: 739
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 4:44 pm

Re: Flying predators

Post by Bamboo&Brookies »

I love raptors, and here on the Hudson River (as I've mentioned before) we see dozens and dozens of bald Eagles each winter. They migrate down here from the Catskills and elsewhere and they find open water here to fish. They also roost in watershed land just above our house, and build massive nests there.

Along with the eagles we are seeing more ospreys and -- like CJ mentions -- many more redtail hawks, plus other birds of prey.

I think we've all discussed how all of us recall when eagles, osprey and other raptors were scarce.

DDT did a number on them. Lead may have had some effect as well -- I would suggest that the impact of lead shot is much lower than things like chemical poisoning of waterfowl and raptors, or habitat loss.

Also, up until the 1970s or so, some states or village offices paid bounties on some hawks and owls, considering them pests.

Now they're all protected. And I think that's a good thing.

But being an upland bird hunter, I do see a distinct drop in grouse numbers. The pheasants that the state stocks also get hammered by hawks (in fairness, the pheasants aren't all that bright when they're released).

One of the issues going against upland birds in the Catskills is that there can be no logging in the large tracts of 'Forever Wild' designated forest. So there's not sufficient early succession, brushy type of cover for upland birds and rabbits and the like. The public is dead set against clearcuts, but the fact is that cutting small tracts of 10 acres or so provides a tremendous benefit for wildlife.

Anyway, not sure if that answers your question but I think those are some reasons raptors are on the rise and small game (in some areas at least) is on the decline.

-Rob J.
Give a man a fly rod, a shotgun and a bird dog and he'll never be worth a d*mn.
-Old New England saying

squish67
Posts: 524
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 9:56 am
Location: Greenwich, New York

Re: Flying predators

Post by squish67 »

As an aside to this, I was thinking yesterday after seeing a couple of Eagles, how much joy I get when I see them, or an Osprey or a hawk, and how wonderful it is to see them regularly. On the other hand, there seem to be many more Mergansers here on the Battenkill and the nearby Hudson, and every time I see a bunch my blood boils, and I only wish the season was always open on those GD trout eating monsters! Funny, those raptors are eating the same trout?? People are strange.....................

wiFlyFisher
Posts: 817
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Flying predators

Post by wiFlyFisher »

My question is, what keeps the raptors in check?
Disease and food supply.

For example, in NW WI we are noticing more porcupines then we have seen in years. So that should mean more fishers since they seek and hunt porcupines. We had a bunch of cottontails behind the cabin and low in behold one day I looked out and a redtail hawk was sitting in the tree next to the cabin. You can bet what he was thinking to have for dinner. :lol: :lol:

But less song birds may not necessarily because of the hawks, there may be other factors reducing their numbers, such as lack of ideal habitat, disease, bad Spring seasons for raising their young, etc..
The public is dead set against clearcuts, but the fact is that cutting small tracts of 10 acres or so provides a tremendous benefit for wildlife.
Agreed!!!

My $0.02

corvus
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:05 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota

Re: Flying predators

Post by corvus »

Recent indications are that spraying for Spruce Bud Worms has impacted the Evening Grosbeak numbers... Here in Northern MN we used to get flocks of them at the feeders... I have counted two in the last year.
I guess it just points up how interconnected everything is on this old orb. Its like a finely tuned race car. What we seem to be doing now is removing a part a day and throwing it away. After a while it doesn't run as well as it used to and finally it won't go at all. Kinda scary. When we start considering about throwing away the brakes ( like the EPA or PCA ) it really gives me pause. Interesting conversation we're having....

catskilljohn
Posts: 4316
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Flying predators

Post by catskilljohn »

corvus wrote:As for your robins..... do the neighbors have a cat? Cats kill hundreds of thousands of birds evey year....
I have not seen a cat in months...could be the hawks got them! :lol:

My wife tells me there was a big bird, chicken sized, on the lawn. I have seen them ripping birds apart myself, right out in the open whereas cats normally run to shelter to scoff up whatever they kill.

I like the raptors really, just wondering how the mammal population will hold out. I suppose when all the rabbits/squirrels are gone so to will the hawks. CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

wiFlyFisher
Posts: 817
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Flying predators

Post by wiFlyFisher »

catskilljohn wrote:
corvus wrote:As for your robins..... do the neighbors have a cat? Cats kill hundreds of thousands of birds evey year....
I have not seen a cat in months...could be the hawks got them! :lol:

My wife tells me there was a big bird, chicken sized, on the lawn. I have seen them ripping birds apart myself, right out in the open whereas cats normally run to shelter to scoff up whatever they kill.

I like the raptors really, just wondering how the mammal population will hold out. I suppose when all the rabbits/squirrels are gone so to will the hawks. CJ
I figure we have lost at least a couple outside cats to birds or a fox.

Three years ago on Easter morning we watched a cottontail rabbit go racing through our yard. I joked there goes Peter Cottontail racing down his bunny trail. About 2 minutes later a nice looking red fox came jogging through our yard hot on Peter Cottontail's trail!! :lol: :lol:

corvus
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:05 pm
Location: Northern Minnesota

Re: Flying predators

Post by corvus »

It happens... An eagle got one of my Mom's cats right on our lakeshore driveway... Ma always said the "cat got its wings." She had Hans and Fritz, "the Katzenjammer Kids", for those of you old enough to remember that comic strip.... Hans was the one who learned to fly.

BrownBear
Posts: 681
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:16 pm
Location: Kodiak, AK

Re: Flying predators

Post by BrownBear »

catskilljohn wrote: I have not seen a cat in months...could be the hawks got them! :lol:
Big owls, both the gray and the great horned are cat specialists. Cats love being out at night, but can't see or hear the owls coming. Zap! I helped a bird biogulist collect owl pellets around our place in CO. Cat was about as common as rabbit in their diet.

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