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Tutt Library Research Guides

 

Birding Colorado Springs: Raptors

Birds commonly seen in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.

Raptors

Raptors are birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, owls, and vultures. In many raptor species, adult females are larger than adult males.

Cooper's Hawk

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbum/2857080561/sizes/l/
Author: bbum (Bill Bumgarner). Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

Info (All About Birds) Call (Macaulay Library) Video (YouTube)
  • Medium-sized hawk that frequents the Colorado College campus and surrounding areas
  • Immature birds are streaky brown
  • Diet heavily dependent on birds
  • Can be confused with Sharp-shinned Hawk because of similar markings and size overlap (female Sharp-shinned Hawk may be close in size to male Cooper's Hawk)

Turkey Vulture

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turkey_Vulture_%28Cathartes_aura%29_-in_flight.jpg
Author: “Mike“ Michael L. Baird. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Info (All About Birds) [Usually silent] Video (YouTube)
  • Soars with wings slightly upturned in a stretched-out V shape. Look for several circling around, rarely flapping their wings.
  • Named for its resemblance to the Wild Turkey (namely the bare reddish head)
  • Unlike most birds, the Turkey Vulture has a strong sense of smell which aids in its search for carrion
  • Adult is mostly silent

Bald Eagle

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bald-eagle-44.jpg
Author: William H. Majoros Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Info (All About Birds) Call (Macaulay Library) Video (YouTube)
  • Very large raptor with white head and tail
  • Eagles are easily distinguished from vultures by flatter wing profile while soaring, and stronger wingbeats. Vultures have a flattened V shape while soaring.
  • Juvenile Bald Eagle can be confused with Golden Eagle. Juvenile Bald Eagles have larger beaks than Golden Eagles, and have mottled white under their wings
  • Bald Eagles are not typically seen in Colorado Springs, but may be seen at higher elevation areas such as Woodland Park and the Pikes Peak North Slope recreation area.

Flammulated Owl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flammulated_owl.jpg
Author: U.S. Geological Survey. Public Domain.

Info (All About Birds) Call (Macaulay Library) Video (YouTube)
  • Small owl which feeds on insects, especially moths; because of its diet, only present in Colorado in the summer
  • Formerly thought rare, the Flammulated Owl is fairly common in forested high-altitude areas in the West
  • Not present in Colorado Springs, but may be encountered while camping in the Front Range. Listen for the male's repetitive "boop" call at night.
  • CC Professor Brian Linkhart has conducted years of important research on this species

Red-tailed Hawk

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buteo_jamaicensis_Red_tailed_hawk_b_1.6.2008.jpg
Author: MONGO. Public Domain.

Info (All About Birds Call (Macaulay Library) Video (YouTube) WARNING: GRAPHIC
  • Very large hawk
  • Common, widespread, and comes in different color phases; but usually has a red tail
  • Often seen perching on street lights along Interstate 25
  • Call is the generic hawk/eagle call heard in movies and TV

Great Horned Owl

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Horned_Owl_at_sanctuary_in_BC.jpg
Author: Brendan Lally. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Info (All About Birds) Song (Macaulay library) Video (YouTube)
  • Very strong predator with well-tuned senses
  • Have been known to visit CC campus and attempt nesting near Monument Creek
  • Listen for the "Who who who WHO are you" series of hoots
  • So-called horns are tufts of feathers
  • Look for regurgitated pellets at the base of trees in the area where owls are observed

Golden Eagle

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Golden_Eagle,_Milpitas_California.JPG
Author: Shravans 14. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Info (All About Birds) Call (Macaulay Library) Video (YouTube)
  • Very large raptor, dark brown with gold on back of head, neck, and wings
  • Eagles are easily distinguished from vultures in flight: eagles have a flatter wing profile while soaring, and stronger wingbeats. Vultures soar with their wings in a V configuration
  • Golden Eagle can be confused with Juvenile Bald Eagles. Bald Eagles have larger heads and beaks. Adult Golden Eagles have no white on underside of wings
  • Not often seen in Colorado Springs proper, but may be seen in surrounding areas
  • Widely distributed bird found in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere

American Kestrel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AmericanKestrel02.jpg
Author: Greg Hume (Greg5030). Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Info (All About Birds) Call (Macaulay Library) Video (YouTube) (SOMEWHAT GRAPHIC)
  • Very small falcon. Males have blue and orangish plumage on back, wings and head. Females lack the blue coloration
  • Common and widespread across most of North America, and much of South America
  • Feeds primarily on insects, rodents and small birds; capable of hovering in place
  • Formerly known as "Sparrow Hawk", the American Kestrel is used in falconry
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