Sunday, October 28, 2007

Texas Raptor Deaths

As I drive the roads of Texas I am appalled at the number of dead raptors I see along the roads. In one season of driving to take a hawk for falconry I found three birds that had been shot but were still surviving. I saw a few that had been hit by cars and killed on the highway. I saw over a dozen that had been electrocuted by sitting on electric poles along the highway. This is one of the real killers of hawks, falcons and other large birds in Texas. I am sure I saw just a fraction of the real numbers killed. Just think about where you often see raptors, they are perched on poles along our roads and highways of this great State.
The other thing that makes my blood boil is to see hawks that have been shot. They are not being shot by hunters but by criminals. I saw one large ranch in South Texas that had several dead hawks hanging on boundary fences; apparently someone was letting the rancher know they were taking care of business. What many ranchers and farmers do not realize is that these birds eat mostly rats and mice and are their best friends. Many landowners believe they are taking quail and turkey and it is just not so. A few hawks may take a quail once in a great while but it is the exception to the rule. Quail hunting is big business and too many people have looked the other way when people kill hawks.
Until the public, you and me, start making electric companies put up poles that cannot electrocute raptors and until we start turning in those that would shoot such a majestic bird we will lose great numbers of these birds every year. It is time we move out of the dark ages and take care of these birds for future generations. Wild Ed

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