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How Fast Can A Falcon Dive?

Fascinating Answers to Questions about Birds of Prey

Peter Capainolo

Publication Year: 2010

How Fast Can a Falcon Dive? explores the world of raptors in a way that will appeal to bird lovers and biology enthusiasts alike. This colorful volume is complete with more than fifty-five color and black and white images from photographers and artists around the world. In a reader friendly question and answer format, ornithologist Peter Capainolo and science writer Carol A. Butler define and classify raptors, explore the physical attributes of birds of prey, view how their bodies work, and explain the social and physical behaviors of these species-how they communicate, hunt, reproduce, and more. Capainolo, who received one of the first falconry licenses issued in New York state at age eighteen, relates his personal experience in falconry to describe raptor training and husbandry where the human-bird interactions are complex.

From stories of red-tailed hawks making their homes on the ledges of Manhattan skyscrapers to their role in protecting California's vineyards from flocks of grape-loving starlings, How Fast Can a Falcon Dive? explores how these avian predators interact with people and with their environment.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-viii

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Preface and Acknowledgments [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. ix-xiii

The human fascination with raptors extends far into the past. As we can see in Medieval artwork, knights were so involved in taming and displaying their prized hawks that they took them along everywhere “on the glove,” even to church. When you hunt with a falcon, according to falconer Stephen Bodio, “your purpose ...

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One. Raptor Basics

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pp. 1-21

Question 1: What is a raptor? Answer: Raptors are birds that prey on animals that they either catch and kill themselves or fi nd injured or already dead. The word “raptor” has its roots in the Latin raptator, meaning “to rob”, and raptore, meaning “to seize and carry away.” Raptors seize prey with their talons, either snatching fish from the water, striking ...

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Two. Raptor Bodies

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pp. 22-45

Question 1: How do male and female raptors differ? Answer: Most male birds are larger and more brightly colored than females, but in some bird species, including birds of prey, there is an odd reversal of this rule, known as reversed sexual dimorphism (RSD). Females in some species, such as bird- hunting accipiters and ...

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Three. Raptor Behavior

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pp. 46-64

Question 1: How intelligent are birds of prey? Answer: An animal can have good vision and a good memory and not be particularly intelligent. We know that raptors generally have good memories, as is apparent when trained birds recognize former owners after a long absence. Raptors have ...

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Four. Raptor Reproduction

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pp. 65-88

Question 1: How do birds of prey attract a mate? Answer: Raptors attract a mate in the breeding season by calling loudly and by flying in dramatic displays. Most accipiters perch singly and call (vocalize) at regular intervals. Single raptors of many genera, usually males, may soar and circle over their breeding area to attract ...

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Five. Dangers and Defenses

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pp. 89-112

Question 1: Which animals prey on raptors? Answer: Raptors sometimes fight over prey, and the weaker bird may be left dead or seriously injured. Smaller raptors, such as Eurasian Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus, may be killed by larger raptors like Northern Goshawks A. gentilis. The Eurasian Eagle...

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Six. Raptor Husbandry

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pp. 113-120

Question 1: What is meant by “husbandry”? Answer: “Husbandry” is an old word with several meanings. Originally defined as “care of the household,” the term now usually refers to the scientific management and control of natural or agricultural resources. “Raptor husbandry” is the care, medical ...

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Seven. Taming and Training

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pp. 121-146

Question 1: What is “falconry”? Answer: Originally called “hawking,” “falconry” is the general name for the sport of hunting with raptors, one of the oldest sports in the world. The original goal of this type of hunting was to put food on the table. Until the seventeenth century when the ...

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Eight. Raptors and People

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pp. 147-162

Question 1: Have attitudes about raptors changed over time? Answer: Until the eighteenth century, birds were objects of interest mainly because they provided a good meal. In 1758, botanist Carl Linnaeus published Systema Naturae, in which he cataloged more than twelve thousand plants and animals. He included seventy-five birds from North America that had been ...

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Nine. Research and Conservation

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pp. 163-172

Question 1: Why do we need to study raptors? Answer: The geographic range of a species is a reflection of how births, deaths, and movement respond to environmental variations over time, say Robert Holt and Michael Barfield of the University of Florida. Each species maintains its niche in the food web either by managing to stay alive, or by reproducing ...


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pp. 173-175


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pp. 177-178


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pp. 179-188


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pp. 189-208


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pp. 209-218

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About the Authors

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p. 219-219

Peter Capainolo has had an interest in natural history, particularly ornithology, since boyhood. At age eighteen, he was granted one of the first falconry licenses issued by New York State. He studied zoology and practiced falconry under renowned ornithologist Heinz Meng at the State University of New York, College at New Paltz, and subsequently earned undergraduate and ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813550329
E-ISBN-10: 0813550327
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547909

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2010