270 species worldwide
Small mammals, birds, some reptiles
Habitat loss and fragmentation, rodenticides, pesticides and fertilizers, climate change, disease
Augur Buzzard: Native to eastern and southwestern Africa
Harris’ Hawk: Native to Southwest US down through South America
Hawks are iconic, majestic, incredibly gorgeous, and occasionally misunderstood. Our bird of prey ambassadors have the important job of helping their audience understand how hard of a life raptors have even without human impact. Add in what we call anthropogenic (or human-caused) activity, and birds of prey run into even more pressures that threaten their survival.
Seeing them in a rare way up close whether in our on-the-glove experiences or in free flight programs offers a chance to appreciate what makes these birds so special and why San Diego is home to so many different species of hawk. California has fourteen species of hawk, with nine species hawk found in San Diego: red tailed hawks, red shouldered hawks, coopers hawks, sharp shinned hawks, zone tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, Northern harrier, and the rare Harris’s hawk sighting.
Likes: A nice sitting perch
Dislikes: A stiff tailwind
“Buzzard” is the European term for hawk. When early colonists and explorers came to Western Hemisphere and saw Turkey Vultures and Black vultures soaring overhead for the first time, they mistook them for their buzzards. The name has stuck, and people often refer to our New World vultures as “buzzards”.