A few years ago, a different kind of family moved onto a quiet street near the Minneapolis airport. For weeks, the parents hustled and bustled to build their home. Sometimes they yelled to each other loudly. They always ate outside but never cleaned up afterward. People in nearby houses welcomed the family anyway. They got used to the family's strange habits. What else could they expect? The new neighbors were bald eagles.
Eagles and other raptors are birds of prey, which means they hunt for fish, mice, smaller birds, or other prey to eat.
Raptors have always been symbols of wild places. Native people and early settlers living in the Midwest often saw these powerful birds soaring and swooping over forests, grasslands, and waterways. Today you might expect to see eagles, hawks, falcons, and other raptors when you go camping or canoeing or hiking in state parks and forests. Did you know raptors are also at home in urban places—cities, towns, and suburbs?
Don't be surprised if you spot a bald eagle skimming over a city lake to grab a fish. Keep an eye out for a Cooper's hawk feeding chicks in its nest in a tree alongside a busy street. You might even see a peregrine falcon—the world's fastest creature—perched atop a church steeple. In this story, you'll learn more about these three raptors: bald eagle, Cooper's hawk, and peregrine falcon.