Harris’s Hawks are a year long resident of the Sonoran Desert, and one of the most abundant birds of prey in our area! Although they aren’t a rare sighting, they are very interesting birds! You will usually see them in groups of three or four, and these groups consist of one dominant female, two subordinate males that both breed with her, and sometimes one juvenile bird as well. They are one of the only few birds of prey that hunt cooperatively, using strategies similar to wolf packs to capture small birds, mammals, or lizards. Look for their dark body and chestnut colored shoulders on top of light poles, telephone poles, or saguaros!
Two very quiet hawks sitting at the top of the telephone pole
and a few feet away, at the top of another utility pole, another two.
One of these two was quite noisy.
I reached out to my friend Joy for help in identitying them. Here’s what she said:
The hawks are Harris Hawks. The two dark ones are the adults the ones with the stippled breasts are the teenagers. These are the only birds of prey in the world that hunt in cooperative family groups. So if you see two hawks sitting happily next to each other they’re probably Harris Hawks.