Bald eagle

Description: With their distinctive white heads and tails and brown bodies, these are among the largest raptors in North America — typically 28 to 38 inches long with wingspans of up to 80 inches. Where they nest: Forests or trees near large bodies of water. Where they hunt: Over and near water. What they eat: Fish, reptiles, amphibians, rabbits and birds. Fun fact: They have an amazing courtship display, where a male and female lock their talons in flight, then plummet downward together until freeing themselves just before crashing. Where you might find them: There is a nesting pair is on Shippingport Island and can be seen with spotting scopes from Falls of the Ohio State Park in Indiana. One other Louisville pair nests on private property near the construction zone for the new eastern Ohio River bridge. At least one other pair nest in southern Indiana across the river from Otter Creek Park. FILE IMAGES/THE COURIER-JOURNAL

Peregrine falcon
Description: Adults have a blue-gray color on top, with lighter barred markings underneath. They are 14 to 19 inches long, with wingspan of 39 to 43 inches. Where they nest: They don’t build nests, instead laying eggs on flat surfaces. When rocky cliffs aren’t available, they use tall manmade structures, including bridges, buildings and towers. Where they hunt: Open spaces, over water and downtown. What they eat: Pigeons, starlings and other birds. Fun fact: They reach speeds of 200 mph when closing in prey, and some migrate as much as 15,000 miles a year, from the arctic to South America and back. Where you might find them: One pair is on a stack at the LG&E Mill Creek power plant. One other is at Dow Chemical in Rubbertown. A third may be on the K&I railroad bridge.

Red-tailed hawk
Description: Among most common hawks in North America, they are 18 to 26 inches long with wingspan of 45-52 inches. They are known for a tail that’s reddish-colored on top. Where they nest: On the edge of a woods, near a field. They like to build their nests out on a branch. Where they hunt: Open fields. What they like to eat: Insects, mice, rats, snakes, rabbits, squirrels. Where you might find them: Soaring above open fields or perched on fence posts or utility pole. Fun fact: Can reach diving speeds of up to 130 mph.

Hawks, falcons and eagles live among the 1.3 million people in the Louisville metro area. We can all get along. Here’s how:



Tips for getting along with raptors:
Give nesting raptors as much space as possible to help keep the birds from becoming defensive and loud. If you find a young raptor on the ground, protect it from pets and people. The parents are likely nearby and continuing to care for the young bird. If the bird remains on the ground for several hours, you can call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, such as Raptor Rehab in Louisville, for advice or help. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has a list of licensed rehabilitators at Indiana also maintains such a list at Don’t try to raise raptors on your own. They may never be able to return to the wild. Limit use of pesticides and rodenticides. They can poison birds, too.

Cooper’s hawk
Description: Broad rounded wings with a long tail, these birds are about 14 to 18 inches long with wing spans of up to 35 inches. Adults are a steely blue-gray with reddish markings on underneath and dark bands on their tails. Where they nest: In neighborhoods with a lot of bird feeders. They’ll build their nests in a tree in your yard. Where they hunt: In forests and in city neighborhoods where there are birds. What they eat: Song birds, mourning doves, pigeons, and rodents. Where you might find them: In a neighborhood. Fun fact: These forest fliers have adapted to navigating among trees and homes in urban and suburban neighborhoods. When they fly, they rarely flap continuously.

Great horned owl
Description: These nocturnal birds are 18 to 25 inches long with a wingspan 40 to 57 inches with a big heat and distinctive widely spaced ear tufts. Where they nest: In city parks, people’s back yards and thick woods, taking over other hawks’ nests or finding a hollow in a tree. Where they hunt: From perches next to open areas. What they eat: Ducks, chickens, rabbits, skunks, small possums. They can even carry off a house cat. Where you might find them: Parks and neighborhoods where open spaces are nearby, including fields and cemeteries. Fun fact: Known as the “tiger of the sky” because it’s a fierce hunter that can carry off more than three times its weight.

American kestral
Description: A small falcon, the male has blue and red coloring; 9 to 12 inches long, 20 to 24 inch wingspan. Where they nest: Tree cavities or places like tree cavities; nest boxes, under eaves, in a hole in a house. Where they hunt: Meadows, grasslands and farm fields. What they eat: Grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, spiders and butterflies; small rodents and songbirds. Where you might find them: Along utility lines and fence posts. Fun fact: In some cities, kestral hunt for moths from sports stadium lighting.

SOURCES: Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Guide, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

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