Previous: Life Goes On | Update from Quarantine
Next: Huckleberry the Beaver's Journey | Compilation



View count:40,326
Last sync:2023-02-01 05:30
Hara the Harris's hawk goes on a walk in the forest with her human friend Jessi. Learn some neat facts about harris hawks, including their social structure and eyesight and get to know why Hara lives at Animal Wonders.

Our Video Sponsors:

Donald Eckels
Sydney Dysert
Katie McLam
Joan Arrey
Rob Nielsen
David Richards
Roger Heyna

Thank you so much for helping make these videos possible!

If you'd like your name here or featured at the end of an episode, you can become a sponsor at
Looking for more awesome animal stuff?
Subscribe to Animal Wonders Montana to see all of our videos!

Other places to find us:
Amazon Wishlist:

 (00:00) to (02:00)

Hi everyone.  Welcome to our very first ever Tuesday video.  I wanted to let you know that my husband Augusto helped me film the video you're about to see.  Now, neither of us are professional videographers, but we tried our best and we put together this little video for you.  Enjoy.


Hello and welcome back to Animal Wonders, and today, we're going to be doing a hangout session with one of our very special animals, Hara the Harris's hawk.  Right now, I am just preparing to go and see her.  I have some equipment here.  I have this nice, thick, leather glove and her leash, which you will see how I use it in just a second.

Alright, Hara, how are you, pretty girl?  This is where she lives.  This is what we call her (?~1:00).  So what we're going to do now is attach her leash to her jesses.  Wanna jump onto there?  Here we go.  Good girl.  Wanna go for a little walk outside?  Look, it's beautiful outside.  Yeah, let's go for a walk in the woods.  

We made it to a beautiful spot in the woods.  Me and Hara really like hanging out out here.  So Hara is a Harris's hawk and you can mostly find them in desert areas in the Americas, so being in Montana is not something that a Harris's hawk would normally do.  The reason that Hara is here with us at Animal Wonders in Montana is because she was bred to be a falconry bird and something happened, we're not sure, but she got--the tips of her wings were damaged and so she cannot fly very far on her own.  She can fly accurately about 10 feet, so she was not going to be a falconry bird, being able to catch quarry, so she was put in a breeding situation and she never bred.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

She didn't like any of the suitors that they brought her, so they actually sent her to a zoo down in California.  So the zoo was going to be make her part of their collection, and part of that process is having her go through a quarantine period and during those three months, they ran a bunch of tests, several repeated, and they figured out that she has a contagious parasite, and because of that, they could not put her into their collection, so they were looking for a facility that knew how to take care of Harris's hawks and also didn't have any other birds of prey.  

The parasite that she has is not contagious to like, humans.  It's not zoonotic, but it can spread to owls and eagles and other kinds of hawks and falcons.  It doesn't really affect her that much.  It does lower her immune system, but as long as she's kept, you know, relatively stress free and in a good situation, she'll live a great, beautiful life.  

I think Harris's hawks are really interesting because instead of living a solitary life or just their mate, they are a social species.  They live i a pack situation and you hear that?  That was a little, that was a purr, and that is showing an example of something that they would do because they live in a pack.  Yeah.  

So in a normal Harris's hawk social structure, the female is in charge and there are several males that live on the same territory.  The purring that she's doing is actually to me, and she is communicating that we are part of the same pack, so when she purrs like that, I know that she is comfortable with me and she's communicating, hey, we're buddies, we're in this together.  

One of my favorite things to do with the animals is to just be with them.  I love just watching her watch things.  Look at her eyes.  Hawks have incredible eyesight and if you look at a couple of things around her eyes, you can see that one, they are huge in her head.  They're forward facing and when she is in bright light, her pupils get really small, and when she goes in the shade, they dilate just like ours, but one of the coolest things is right above her eye, you can see that brow ridge, and that brow ridge is used like we would use our hands over our eyes to shade the sun out of our view.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

The reason they need those brow ridges is because they hunt with their eyesight.  So I learned something in zoo school a long time ago that has stuck with me.  It's about hawk eyesight.  A hawk's eyesight is so keen that it would be like if you could read newspaper print across three football fields.  

Now, I don't know how actually accurate that is, but it is a nice way to try and understand maybe the comparison between our eyesight and hawk eyesight, so watching her watch the world, I'm just totally fascinated by all those little aspects, the keen eyesight, the forward facing eyes, the brow ridges.  I love it.

Alright, Hara's getting really bored.  She wants to move on, so let's go ahead and continue our walk.  


Here we go.  We're going home.  (?~5:26)  Good girl.  Alright, so now let's fix your tail feathers.  Hara just went through a mol and she got new tail feathers.  I'm going to take off of her equipment now.  So this is that leash that I had in the very beginning and I attached the leash to her jesses and these are the jesses right here, and they attach to her anklets, which she has around her ankles there, and those are there so that when she spooks or when she sees something interesting and she wants to fly to it, she doesn't just fly off my hand and then crash and hurt herself and if she were to manage to get up in to a tree or something, she would not be able to survive here in Montana, so that is how we keep her safe.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

So now that we're back home, we should probably talk a little bit about her home here.  This is called a (?~6:20) and we built it with her in mind specifically.  It's 12 feet by 12 feet and the perches are about a foot or two off the walls so that she can fly her full ten feet and then land on a perch so she gets all that energy as much as possible without accidentally crashing or hurting herself, so that keeps her as fit as possible while also keeping her safe.

So the front of this (?~6:45) has a bunch of slats on it and the side here so that she has a nice window to look out but it keeps her safe so if she is coming in for a landing and her wings brush up against that wall, the feathers don't get stuck in it like a chain link or any other kind of bar situation.  They're not gonna hit really hard, they just sweep along it and it doesn't damage them.

So during the middle part of the day, Hara gets full Southern sun so she can sun herself, and she also has areas where she can get into the shade.  So she is living in Montana where it gets really cold, and remember, she's a desert bird, so the way that we make sure that she stays comfortable is we have two heated perches.  So if it feels too cold for her, she can go sit on just one heated perch that's in the main part of the room or if it gets really, really cold, she can go into her little heated area with a heat perch and a heat lamp, but for the most part, Hara does not choose to use those heated perches.  She actually stays pretty warm on her own.

I love that we're able to provide Hara with a safe home.  She's amazing and I love that she trusts me enough to let me into her pack.  I hope you enjoyed and I'll see you next time.  Bye.  


 (08:00) to (08:17)