Saturday, October 28, 2006

Prey of Ferruginous Hawks Breeding in Washington

Scott A. Richardson, Ann E. Potter, Karin L. Lehmkuhl, Rosemary Mazaika, Mary E. McFadzen, Rick Estes. 2001. Northwestern Naturalist 82:58-64.

Abstract (corrected)

We collected and analyzed pellets and prey remains from 39 ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) breeding territories in the Columbia Basin of Washington between 1992 and 1995. Among 4402 identified items were remains of 12 mammal species, primarily northern pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides). Orthopterans, primarily Tettigoniidae, outnumbered all other identified prey items. Birds and snakes were difficult to count accurately, but contributed significantly to diets at some territories. Prey items of ferruginous hawks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation were almost exclusively pocket gophers and insects. Hawks elsewhere in Washington often had more varied diets incorporating small mammal species, primarily Great Basin pocket mice (Perognathus parvus). At the 4 territories where prey were quantified each yr (all at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation), the relative contribution of insect prey varied. Few lagomorphs were encountered, suggesting a dietary shift since the 1920's for ferruginous hawks nesting in Washington.

Published by the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology

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