Before this week I’d only ever seen one Harris’s hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) and that was a captive bird, located then at Cardiff Castle and one of several species of birds of prey used to scare away the ever-increasing numbers of feral pigeon and gull that are making their homes in our big cities. The presence of birds of prey in the skies above city buildings and factories, combined with the ear-piercing cries they emit, are enough to advertise that the territory belongs to them.
However, one Harris’s Hawk has escaped (no one knows where it escaped from) and is now living happily in the wild not far from where I live. Apparently, it’s been in the area for about a year, and I’ve been keeping an eye out for it while out walking. Last Thursday I finally spotted it and managed to get a few photos.
The Harris’s Hawk is not native to Britain – it hails from the Americas – but it’s a bird that is often used in falconry and as an airborne pest controller. I guess some birds just decide they’d rather be free – and who can blame them?