Desert Cry is located within the territory of a family of Harris Hawks. I have had the pleasure of watching this hawk family hunt, mate and raise their young since moving here in 1993.

HARRIS' HAWKS

I would like to tell you about a treasure that has become a symbol of the Sonoran Desert in which it lives.

The Harris' Hawk is like no other raptor. These charcoal grey and rust colored birds of prey stand up to 20" tall, with females larger than males. A white rump-patch is visible from below as they fly and the tail is edged with a band of white above. They are best known for their behavior of staying together as a family. Each year's young will remain to raise the next generation, rather than flying off alone. As some members search for prey, surround and flush it out, others attack from another direction. This flush and ambush way of pack-hunting has earned them the nickname "wolves of the air".

They nest most often in the crook of the arms of Saguaro cactus, laying an average of 2 eggs per clutch. But as these magnificent giant plants of the desert are destroyed, along with the land and prey animals, the birds are nesting more often in tall trees closer to "man". Their cry of alarm almost sounds like the word haaawwk in a raspy squawk and mated pairs softly whistle and chirp to each other and the young as they feed. Harris' Hawks are territorial, and do not migrate. They live in the same place all year round. They will separate if there is not enough food in the area or a juvenile takes a mate and leaves to establish its own territory.

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