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      Whatbird Forums Rules   01/08/17

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Can anyone tell me why there is such a difference in size between the male and female hawks that live on my property?  Is it the male or female that is larger?  I still do not have a good camera but I will get one at some point in time. They are so expensive! 

 

hawks.jpg

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In hawks, it is typically the female that is larger. Have they nested on your property before? Typically they'll return to the same territory to nest each year.

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Their nest may be on my neighbor's property but they stay on my property more than any other because of how many chipmunks and squirrels I have.  They don't seem to eat birds like a Sharpie or Coopers.  Just after I took this photograph, the female swooped down and scratched back some pine straw and grabbed a wiggler worm that may have been 6 inches long.  I have no idea how she was able see that worm moving underneath the pine straw?  She saw it from 100' away. . Just goes to show you how amazing their eye sight is. 

I like them but they make a lot of racket. They scream at each other even when they are close to one another so I am not quite sure why they don't tone it down some... Ha ha! 

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The size difference is called sexual dimorphism. There are several reasons why the female is larger.  One is that two birds can share the same territory. The female hunts larger prey, while the male focuses on smaller, quicker prey. Therefore they do not deplete their territory of prey. The female does most of the brood sitting, so larger size is an obvious advantage there. Also, when the female is on the nest, and the male instinctively brings food, he may be reluctant to part with it. The larger female can just take it away. These are just a few of the possible reasons for the size difference. Falconers noticed this centuries ago, and their term for a male hawk is Tiercel, which literally means one third, which refers to the male hawk or falcon being one third smaller than the female.

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Thank you for letting us know more about them. That is amazing how those traits have developed to help the species survive. I talked to my neighbor who has the nest on his property and this pair has fledged 7 hawks in the last 3 years. Last year they succesfully fledged 3 so they are getting better at their craft. This is not good news for the chipmunks. 

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