North American Birds of Prey Power Rankings

In 2006, it was discovered that one of our earliest fossilized ancestors, the 2.5 million year old Taung Child, was probably killed by a large bird of prey. The ancient bird left its telltale beak marks in the eye sockets of Taung Child, confirming what many of us already knew: Birds of prey have been tormenting earthbound creatures for millions of years. Birds of prey tend to eat small mammals and fish, but a few, like the golden eagle are known to prey on small goats and deer (perhaps even small humans!). Also known as raptors, these birds are generally characterized by keen eyesight, strong talons for gripping prey, and a curved beak for ripping off hunks of flesh.

Who is the baddest raptor of them all? We have used our own top secret Raptor Rank® algorithms to determine the 7 greatest North American birds of prey.

 

7. Bald Eagle: 37
Strength: 7
Speed: 8
Agility: 7
Intimidation Factor: 7
Intangibles: 8

Notes: The national bird is a jack of all trades and master of none. It is neither the consummate fisherman (like that of an osprey) nor is it the epitome of a woodland hunter (like the red-tailed hawk). Mostly, you can find bald eagles scavenging the coastline like no-good, beach bum seagulls. Eagles are also the subject of a massive media cover-up: That shrieking war cry we associate with eagles? It’s actually overdubbed from the red-tailed hawk.

I read Hegel [Image: guardiansofgahoole.wikia.com]

I read Hegel NBD [Image: guardiansofgahoole.wikia.com]

6. Great Horned Owl: 38
Strength: 6
Speed: 6
Agility: 8
Intimidation Factor: 8
Intangibles: 10

Notes: The great horned owl is ready go at a moment’s notice. His specialized feathers allow him to slip silently through the air in the dead of night, sneaking up on prey unawares. He knows more than any other bird, but he’s humble about it. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff.

 

Osprey strike [Image: http://giphy.com/gifs/pMTQlhG53bQwU]

Osprey strike [Image: giphy.com/gifs/pMTQlhG53bQwU]

5. Osprey: 38 
Strength: 6
Speed: 7
Agility: 9
Intimidation Factor: 8
Intangibles: 8

Notes: The osprey is the samurai of the sky, a fastidious tactician who performs precision airstrikes on unsuspecting fish. The scales on its talons are backwards-facing so as to act like barbs. Closeable nostrils allow the osprey to dive without getting water up its nose. You can’t go wrong this bird.

Peregrine diving [Image: mendobrew.com]

Peregrine diving [Image: mendobrew.com]

4. Peregrine Falcon: 39
Strength: 5
Speed: 10
Agility: 9
Intimidation Factor: 6
Intangibles: 9

Notes: The peregrine falcon can reach speeds of up to 250 mph, making it the fastest animal in the kingdom of animals. Because of its worldwide distribution, it is estimated that peregrines prey on up to a fifth of the world’s bird species. When you’re causing a fifth of the planet’s bird species to have nightmares about you… that’s power.

Juvenile Red-tail with Falconer [Image: republicanherald.com]

Juvenile Red-tail with Falconer [Image: republicanherald.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Red-tailed Hawk: 40
Strength: 7
Speed: 7
Agility: 8
Intimidation Factor: 9
Intangibles: 9

Notes: The red-tailed hawk is a cold-blooded killer that soars in dihedral angles because it understands the basic principle of Euclidean geometry: angles kill things efficiently. Because of their hunting prowess and ability to be trained, red-tails are used by most American falconers.

Image: e360.yale.edu

Image: e360.yale.edu

 

2. California Condor: 41
Strength: 10
Speed: 6
Agility: 6
Intimidation Factor: 10
Intangibles: 9

Notes: With a wingspan of 9.8 feet, the California condor is the largest North American land bird. The Condor’s size has been mythologized by several Native American tribes, notably the Yokut who believe the wings cause lunar eclipses. Condors live up to 60 years, making them the most experienced bird of prey in the world. We could solve many of the world’s problems if only we could combine the wisdom of an owl with the experience of a condor.

If you see one, run![http://giphy.com/gifs/eagle-catching-upIogjHb5BEm4]

If you see one…run! ![http://giphy.com/gifs/eagle-catching-upIogjHb5BEm4]

1. Golden Eagle: 43
Strength: 10
Speed: 8
Agility: 7
Intimidation Factor: 9
Intangibles: 9

Notes: Powerful talons, a 7-foot wingspan, and breathtaking speed combine to make this the greatest North American bird of prey. It is the only bird brave enough to fight a condor over a kill. Kyrgyz falconers use golden eagles to hunt foxes and even wolves. These eagles don’t care whether they live or die, they just live for the hunt.

Want to see these raptors for yourself? Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for binoculars and much more!

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