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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/268

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What's the Good of a Hawk?

��By Dr. Jl. W. Shufeldt

��OF what use to man is this great army of hawks, harriers, and falcons we see or read about? There was a time when these "hawks" and their kind were simply regarded as fit subjects for the brush and pen of the pro- fessional ornith-

ologist; for the scalpel of the taxi- dermist, or a legiti- mate target for every gunner in the land that came across them in the open.

There is a splen- did array of falcon- birds in our avifauna, the principal represen- tatives being the Eagles, the Fal- cons, the Hawks, Kites and Harriers. Besides these, we have two species of Caracaras, as well as the famous Osprey or Fish Hawk. When one includes the latter, with the four dif- ferent kinds of Eagles recogni/.ed by American or- " nithologists, there are in the United States, all told, no fewer than thirty-two species and twenty-one sub-species of such l)irds. None of these are as abundant as they were half a centur\' or more ago, or even less lime. Indeed, during the autumnal migration of birds southward in the early seventies, in the southern part of Fairfield County in Connecticut, I have seen as many as a tliousand or more different kinds of iiawks pass overhead in the course of a day; I very much doubt that one now could count, at the same time of the year, over a hundred.

���Profile of the Osprey lives entirely upon fish

��The thoughtless farmer argues that hawks of every kind kill domestic p(Hiltry, and that he, for one, is for exter- minating the entire lot of them. That tliousands of chickens, ducks, young turkeys, tame pigeons, guinea-fowls and other denizens of the farmer's yard, have been, in time, destroyed by hawks, there can be no question ; but even so, our inves- ti gat ion of such a serious matter should not rest upon a snap judg- ment, and lead us to condemn the entire tribe on that account.

In the first place, some hawks, as the Fish Hawk, li\e entirely upon fish, and never attack or destroy any kinti of fowl or mam- mal, although it has the strength to kill a full-grown gobbler, were it to tr\- to do so. The illustration here given is the repro- duction of a photo- graph I made of a bird not quite full grown, which was in my possession for several days; I also made the other photographs for this article from li\ing specimens of hawks in my keeping at different times. In so far as man's interests are concerned, the Msii Hawk or CKsprey is entirely harmless.

All those hawks which we call Kites do not, as a rule, attack birds or quad- ru[)eds of any kind, and ficver domestic ])oultry. The>- destnn-, however, in the course of a year, millions of noxious insects anil no end of \ermin, which prey

��or Fish Hawk which and other water food


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