Most birds are limited in what they can eat for they have to swallow whole whatever is caught. This was illustrated three months ago in the posting, birds eat. However, the beaks of a few birds have a prominent hook which enables them to tear large prey into pieces to swallow a bit at a time. Many, but not all, of these birds are raptors — a striking example of which was last Saturday’s fortuitous observation of a Golden Eagle. Other delights are the Bald Eagle, and our favourite summer resident, the Osprey. Photographed last week were two other raptors, plus a songbird, all with hooked bills.
A Red-tailed Hawk is a permanent resident. This one was watching for voles.
The Rough-legged Hawk is only seen during the winter; in the summer it breeds in the high Arctic.
The Northern Shrike is a songbird, yet, like a raptor, it uses its hooked bill to tear apart prey. The shrike is smaller than a robin and so is tiny by comparison to the hawks, above.