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Urban hawks leave the city for the ’burbs

Cara J

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Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) have taken well to city life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and as they expand their range to non-urban areas, they’re displacing and out-competing their counterparts, a recent study found. The findings suggest that in times of rapid ecological change, urban wildlife populations “may serve as important reservoirs of diversity,” wrote TWS member Brian Millsap, National Raptor Coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in his study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. But Millsap said he wonders what the future may hold for these urban birds if they turn out to be unfit for country life. Cooper’s hawks have been on the rise since the banning of the pesticide DDT. Their urban populations in Albuquerque have grown particularly fast due to the colonization and expansion of white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica), a primary food source. The hawks inhabit areas both outside the city, along the Rio Grande River and in the Sandia Mountains, and inside the city, in backyards, parks and other urban spots. But there’s a key difference between the two populations, Millsap found. Most females outside the city — the exurban population — migrate in the winter when the birds they prey on become [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/urban-hawks-leave-the-city-for-the-burbs/

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