Raptors have sharp, curved beaks and strong feet and talons with which to catch and eat their prey. This group of birds includes osprey, falcons, eagles and hawks. Look for raptors throughout the refuge, including fields, forests, bay and beaches.
This small, brightly colored falcon can be seen perched on power lines along roadways and fields. Kestrals are often seen hovering before they strike their prey of insects or small mammals.
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Willapa NWR is home to many bald eagles. Look for these large raptors on the ocean beach or perched in tall trees near the bay. It takes four years for the splotchy brown young to develop the white head and tails of adult birds.
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Unusually among the refuge’s raptors, the northern harrier has an owl-like roundish head. Look for its slow, rocky flight low above salt marsh, fields and dunes. Females are large and brown, males are smaller and grey. Both sexes have a long tail with a white rump.
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Sometimes called “fish hawks”, osprey primarily feed on fish. They have reversible outer toes and scalely feet that help them grasp and hold fish. Osprey winter in Mexico and southern California, and breed here at the refuge. Look for large, conspicuous nests on power poles, platforms and dead trees. Listen for their loud series of kyew calls.
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This mid-sized falcon packs a punch! It hunts for shorebirds and songbirds during the fall, winter and spring months.
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This large falcon sports a dark helmet. Known as one of the world’s fastest birds, the Peregrine falcon is frequently seen feeding on the refuge’s shorebirds and ducks.
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Red-tailed hawks are a common sight around the refuge. Its dark belly band and red tail are easily recognizable features of this stout hawk.
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A bird of the forest and backyards, the sharp-skinned hawk has short, rounded wings and a long tail that help it maneuver in tight places.
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Page Photo Credits Immature bald eagles - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Bald eagle - © Dr. Madeline Kalbach, American kestral - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Northern harrier - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Peregrine falcon - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Red-tailed hawk - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Sharp-shinned hawk - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach, Merlin - USFWS
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2014