Nature's Echo Birds of Prey

Mississippi Kite

 

Ictinia mississippiensis

 

Kites have light-weight bodes that help them have a very buoyant and graceful flight. They are insectivores and often eat on the wing (while in flight!). They dine on grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, wasps, gnats and other flying insects.

 

They are long-distance migrants and often travel hundreds (even thousands!) of miles to their wintering ground.

 

Mississippi kites will often nest in loose colonies. They have a "neighborhood watch" system. If a predator is spotted, a unique call is made and a group of neighboring kites will gang up to run the predator away from the community!

Red Shouldered Hawk

 

Buteo lineatus

 

Red Shoulders are very vocal, you will usually hear them before you see them. Adults have black and white striped tail feathers and vivid redish chest and "shoulder" feathers.

 

They prefer to live in riperian habitats - any low-lying area with a lake, creek or stream. As such, they routinely dine on crawfish, frogs and even snakes!

 

These hawks are very beneficial to farms and gardens. Their dining habits help reduce nusiance rodent populations - making the property a healthier place for crops and humans too!

Eastern Screech Owl

 

Megascops asio

 

Screech owls come in a variety of color phases - from browns to grays to reds. They prefer woodland habitats and are cavity nesters. They rely on decaying trees to build safe nests to raise their young.

 

These birds eat a variety of small rodents, insects and even small snakes. One of their favorite nocturnal snacks are cockroaches!

 

Screech owls take readily to nest boxes. You can invite these nocturnal birds to your backyard by building them their own home right on your property!

 

 

Great Horned Owl

 

Bubo virginianus

 

Great horned owls are the largest owl in the Southeast. They do not build their own nests but rather take over ownership of old hawk nests.

 

They are also known as the Tigers of the Sky. These birds do not prefer one specific habitat over another. They can be found throughout the world - living in forests, fields, deserts, mountains and everywhere in between.

 

They are generalists that will generally eat anything they can catch with their large talons. These birds are one of the very few animals that routinely prey on skunks!

Birds of Prey are presented with special permission from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 
Nature's Echo is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to environmental education efforts throughout the Southeast.

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