This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of The National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.

Transcript:

This is BirdNote!

It’s April, but Great Horned Owls have been busy at their nests for two months. Golden Eagles are on their nests as early as the beginning of March. And Red-tailed Hawks begin to lay eggs early in that same month, as well. Of the birds familiar to us, most don’t even think about breeding until April. So why do these large birds of prey begin this annual event so early?

Hear that mouse? There’s the answer. It takes a long time to raise a baby hawk or owl to the size at which it can fend for itself. Even though both parents are hunting for and feeding them, such large birds grow slowly. So by beginning to nest early, the hawks and owls fledge their young by the time spring arrives. This is just about the time young rodents and rabbits are leaving their nests in great numbers. The young birds, ‘though inexperienced in catching their own meals, have a lot of potential prey to make their hunting a bit easier and their survival more likely. 

You can get BirdNote as a podcast! Find out how at our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Michael Stein.

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Credits:

Written by Dennis Paulson

Narrator: Michael Stein

Producer:  John Kessler

Executive Producer:  Chris Peterson

Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Great Horned owl Duet recorded by W.R. Fish.  Red-tailed Hawk and Golden Eagle recorded by L.J. Peyton.  Gnawing sounds of Eastern Gray Squirrel by W.L. Hershberger.  Sagebrush ambient recorded by G.A. Keller. Mouse squeak by John Kessler, Kessler Productions.

© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org   April 2017  

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