Saturday, July 14, 2012

Insects Feeding on Hawk Leftovers

The young Cooper's hawks are becoming the center of their own ecosystem. Their overworked parents bring food, drop it off and leave again, just that fast. With four juveniles that eat as much as they do, each parent is having to catch three times its normal prey. 

They aren't restricting their hunting to birds, they are bringing back whatever they can find. Rats have definitely been on the menu.

The juveniles eat their fill and then, similar to owl pellets, they cough up clumps of hard to digest bones and fur.

These "casts" are a bit gory, but they are in turn providing food to carnivorous insects like the yellow jackets in the video here. Listen and you will hear one of the young hawks calling in the background. Ants and flies are eating the leftovers, while western fence lizards are then pouncing on both species of insects. Spiders also will benefit. The ring-necked snake benefits from the success of the lizards.

Our yard is alive with biodiversity. Thanks to Eclipse-1 Media.

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