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Golden Eagle

Although capable of killing large prey, golden eagles primarily hunt rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs. It takes a juvenile bird four years to reach adulthood, juveniles typically don’t have territories and don’t migrate far from their natal territories (where they hatched). They disperse and ”hang around” the region for several years.

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Northern Pintail

Pintails are a fast, long-distant migrant. Using satellite-tracking technology, the longest non-stop flight on record was 1,800 mi/2,900 km.

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Common Nighthawk

Male common nighthawks are known for their dramatic “booming” flight display. When flying above the trees, a male will dive towards the ground and abruptly pull out of the dive, sometimes just above the ground. As he flexes his wings downward, the air rushes across his wingtips, making a booming or whooshing sound. The male may dive to impress a female or scare intruders, such as people.

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American Kestrel

Kestrels hide surplus prey in grass clumps, tree roots, bushes, fence posts, tree limbs, and cavities, to save the food for lean times or to hide it from thieves. In winter in many southern parts of the range, female and males use different habitats. Females use the typical open habitat, and males use areas with more trees. This situation appears to be the result of the females migrating south first and establishing winter territories, leaving males to the more wooded areas.

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Dickcissel

Dickcissels gather in large flocks for fall and spring migration, up to thousands of birds. On their winter range, flocks may be as large as millions of birds, and these flocks can inflict substantial damage on agricultural crops in South America.

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Horned Lark

The female Horned Lark selects a nest site on bare ground, apparently with no help from her mate. She uses her bill to loosen soil and flip it aside to dig a cavity, sometimes also kicking dirt out with her feet. She either chooses a natural depression in which to build the nest or excavates the site herself, a process that can take several days.

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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

During the breeding season, scissor-tailed flycatchers live on their own or with a mate. However, before migrating south for the winter, scissor-tailed flycatchers often gather in large groups to rest (or roost). These flocks may contain a hundred or even a thousand individuals. The birds will also gather in large flocks on their wintering grounds, but they leave the flock to feed on their own or in pairs. They very rarely feed within the large flock.

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Willow Flycatcher

Willow flycatchers closely resemble alder flycatchers, which also breed in wet, shrubby habitats further north. The two species are mainly identified in the field by their different songs. Until 1973, these two birds were considered the same species, Traill’s flycatcher, the scientific name for willow flycatcher.

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Eastern Kingbird

The eastern kingbird lives a double life each year. They eat mostly flying insects during the breeding season and aggressively defend their nest and territory from other kingbirds and much larger birds, like hawks and crows. However, during the winter, the eastern kingbird eats mostly fruit and lives in a flock of other birds.

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Western Kingbird

The western kingbird’s breeding range has expanded eastward since the late 1800s because human activity has provided habitat. The planting of trees and installation of utility poles in the prairie provides places for the birds to perch and hunt insects and also nest. In areas where forests have been cleared, the birds have more open habitats suitable for foraging for insects. Although known as the “western” kingbird, this species also often wanders to the East Coast during fall migration.

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