[CT Birds] Raptor Question

james.bair at snet.net james.bair at snet.net
Mon Apr 12 20:09:14 EDT 2010

Dear Sarah:

You wrote:

A question for all the raptor experts: are there any raptors besides Peregrines that will take out a pigeon in mid-air?

Sarah Faulkner

Goshawk comes to mind. A few years back someone reported here a Goshawk grabbing a Canada Goose. We can't forget that Merlins used to be called Pigeon Hawks, and they do go after pigeons, too. I guess a Cooper's Hawk might manage a pigeon, though from my experience falcons are more likely to go after prey closer to their own size. If you are really lucky, it might be a Gyrfalcon... 

I have seen a Red-tail feeding on a pigeon, but I think they mostly get them while they are on the ground rather than mid-air. But falcons and accipiters get a lot of their prey on the wing. 

To reverse this, I remember once when I lived in Groton watching a Mourning Dove chase a Kestrel all over the place. The dove was bigger--I always considered them peaceful (Woodstock peace symbol and all that), but the Kestrel must have gotten too close to a nest.

Jim Bair

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