As we approach INDEPENDENCE DAY, let’s celebrate our BIRDS OF PREY: the majestic Harris Hawk and the B-52 Stratofortress!
What can I say about the handsome Harris Hawk–formerly known as the Bay-winged Hawk or Dusky Hawk? Well, it is unique amongst the raptors for hunting in family groups (usually 2-6 at a time). This cooperative and integrated behavior allows the Harris
to capture larger prey than would otherwise be possible.
This is believed to be an adaptation to the desert climate in which they live. In one hunting technique, a small group flies ahead and scouts, then another group member flies ahead and scouts, and this continues until prey is captured and shared. In another technique, all the hawks surround the prey and one bird flushes it out.
These birds thrive in warm climates and reside in
the southwestern United States down to Chile and central Argentina. Harris
hawks are medium to large in size with
dark brown and chestnut plumage and a white-tipped tail. They occupy sparsely
covered habitats including semi-desert, woodlands, marshlands, and mangroves.
Now for the mighty B-52 Stratofortress! This man-made behemoth “bird of prey” also hunts in packs like the Harris. Man has not only been inspired by raptors to take to the skies, but also to seize the tactical environment by adapting to any life threatening situation. The B-52 carries the most varied and largest arsenal of any aircraft every developed and has maintained its relevance for nearly 60 years of service. These marvels of technology still must revert to age-old truths such as “safety in numbers”. Where there is ONE Stratofortress, be forewarned; there are MANY working together to improve their effectiveness and survival.
Thank you Harris Hawk for your eternal lessons of cooperative and integrated teamwork!