Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Birds of Prey: Great Horned Owl & American Kestrel

The final post for this series of Birds of Prey features Icarus, the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and Hendrix, the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).  Thanks to the Black Hills Raptor Center and the 2012 Black Hills Photo Shootout, we had the opportunity to spend a morning with these two beautiful birds of prey.

Icarus, the Great Horned Owl, has also been known as the 'Tiger Owl' or the 'Flying Tiger'.  One of the reasons for this is the 30 lbs of grip strength in each talon, or roughly 240-300 PSI strength in total.  This is more gripping strength than the human hand.  Icarus hunts mainly small and medium sized mammals including rabbits, rats, and squirrels.

Icarus, Great Horned Owl

Hendrix, the American Kestrel, is also knows as the 'Sparrow Hawk'.  The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America and, under traditional classifications, is the smallest raptor in America according to Wauer & Clark.  Hendrix's favorite foods include grasshoppers, lizards, and mice along with smaller birds. 

birds of prey, bird photography, American Kestrel, Falco sparverius

Please join us in supporting the mission of the Black Hills Raptor Center by making a donation today at their website. The center relies on contributions to keep the animal ambassadors ready to greet the community and teach the children about the wonderful, wild world of nature. 

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