Pleasant Hill, California
Mike & Anne Eliot
We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
Pleasant Hill, California
692 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Phone: (925) 798-0303
Fax: (925) 798-9835
Email: Send Message
Mon - Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thurs: 10:00 am - 7:30 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fun Facts About Hawks
- The name hawk derives from the Teutonic root hab, meaning “to seize or take hold.” The family name Accipitridae is from the Latin word accipere, meaning, “to take or seize.” Both refer to the strong grasping ability these birds of prey share.
- Songbirds and hummingbirds aren't the only birds that migrate. In the fall, there is a huge migration of raptors, too! Raptor migration is one of the most thrilling birding events to observe. Large groups or “kettles” of raptors may contain up to 1,000 birds.
- Flocks of hawks soaring on thermals look like steam rising from a “kettle,” hence the name.
- Hawks don't flap their wings much in migration like songbirds. Instead, they rely on rising currents of air and simply glide and soar their way south. Because of this, they’re quite dependent on the weather to travel and need the sun to warm the air.
- Hawks migrate during daylight hours, traveling at speeds up to 45 mph.
- Swainson’s Hawks are the long distance champions of the North American hawks, traveling as far south as the Argentina’s Pampas.
- Migrating raptors include eagles, falcons and ospreys, Red-tailed, Broad-winged, Rough-legged, Swainson’s, Sharp-shinned and Red-shouldered Hawks, Goshawks, Merlins, Turkey Vultures, and Northern Harriers.
- Falcons have long, graceful wings for the power and speed they utilize in the wide-open areas they are found.
- Accipiters, like the Cooper’s Hawk, have short wings and long tails that aid them in the twisting and rapid turning flight needed to chase down their prey in dense woodland and scrub habitats.
- Great places to watch migrating raptors include the following:
- Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania: World’s first refuge for birds of Prey. Located at Kittatinny Ridge in Kempton, about 25 miles north of Reading, Pennsylvania.
- Cape May Point State Park, New Jersey: Staffed September through November. One of the best places to observe migrating Sharp-shinned Hawks.
- Kiptopeke State Park, Virginia: Fall migration here provides big thrills with over 70,000 raptors passing through. Near Cape Charles.
- Hawk Watch International Fall Migration Site, New Mexico: In the Manzano Mountains near Albuquerque, observe as many as eleven species of raptors migrating in the fall.
- The following are longevity records for some banded hawks in the wild:
- Red-tailed Hawk over 28 years
- Broad-winged Hawk over 16 years
- Red-shouldered Hawk over 19 years
- Swainson’s Hawk over 19 years
- Rough-legged Hawk over 17 years
- Sharp-shinned Hawk over 19 years
- Cooper’s Hawk over 20 years