Hawks And Humans
Although more humans are enjoying watching these migrations and learning to appreciate these raptors, hawks still face persecution. Many are shot each year. Others die in traps set for fur-bearing animals. Still others are killed when they alight on high-voltage power lines. Most species of hawks, like all other raptors, were hard hit by the effects of the pesticide DDT. Considered a miracle pesticide when it was introduced in the 1940s, DDT pervaded the environment, and became concentrated higher up in the food chain. The effect on the raptors was the production of eggs that were too thin-shelled to be incubated: when the female moved to sit on them, the eggs collapsed beneath her, killing the chicks inside. Recovery has been slow.
All hawks are protected by federal and state laws. Some, like the red-tail, are successfully adjusting to living in urban areas. Hawks have been known to live almost 20 years.
Ehrlich, Paul R., David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye. The Birder's Handbook. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1988.
Peterson, Roger Tory. North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Interactive (CD-ROM). Somerville, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.
F. C. Nicholson