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Name: Joyce H.
Status: other
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 10/1/2003

Are Chicken Hawks a protected species?

When I was growing up on a farm all large hawks were called chicken hawks. You will find no such bird anywhere in birding or scientific literature. Depending on where you are, locals may call red-tails, rough-legs, red-shouldered, Swainson's, ferruginous, broad-wing, or several other species "chicken hawks," with red-tails the most likely referred to because of their wide range and open country hunting behavior. But in answer to your important question, YES, all raptors are protected in the United States.

J. Elliott

When I was a graduate student in an Illinois university, I was asked to give a presentation on hawks to a local group of farmer and various merchant interests. After going through the types of hawks that were commonly seen in that part of the country, I was asked about the "chicken" hawk. I asked if it looked like any of the birds I had displayed in my presentation and the interested individuals claimed that the birds I had presented did not resemble the "chicken Hawk" they were referring.

Of course, I asked them to describe the "hawk" and they described a large, uniformly dark colored bird with spots under its wing. I learned that this "chicken Hawk" took chickens, ducks, rabbits and attempted piglets and cats. They identified the bird when I showed a slide of an immature Golden Eagle. They too want to know if this "chicken hawk" was protected. Of course, the Golden Eagle is protected!

Steve Sample

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