Common Birds of Louisiana


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Sparrow Hawk SPARROW HAWK

Falco sparverius

Sparrow Hawk

A harmless bird whose chief food is grasshoppers. The Sparrow Hawk is the most friendly of our hawks. It can be distinguished from all others by its small size, rufous tail, and spots on the breast. A few of these birds nest here but they are more numerous in the winter when those nesting in the north come south again.

The nest is made in a tree cavity, sometimes in an old woodpecker's hole, in a hole in the bank or sometimes around the buildings. Three to seven creamy-white eggs speckled with brown are laid. Both the male and female help in the hatching of the eggs which takes four weeks. This bird may mate for life as is the case among some of its close relatives. This has not, however, been definitely proven.

The food of this bird consists mostly of insects. However, a great many reptiles and mice are eaten. This bird does not often destroy young birds. Because of its beneficial habits it should be given man's full protection.

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BOB-WHITE

Colinus virginianus

The Bob-white was once found the year round throughout all Louisiana except in water-covered swamps which do not furnish suitable habitats. The color is a reddish-brown.

From April to August the birds are busy raising their young. They have only one brood in a season. If this one is not successful, however, following attempts are made. Ten to twenty pure white eggs are laid. These are often discolored before they hatch. The nest, which is constructed on the ground, is composed of grasses, weeds, and leaves. As soon as the young hatch, they are able to run about and care for themselves. However, the parents and the young stay together until the next breeding season forming what is known as a covey.

The food consists of insects, seeds of harmful weeds and berries. The Bob-white is one of the farmer's best friends. A great deal might be done to protect it on the farms. Fence rows, if small trees and undergrowth were allowed to grow up around them, would serve as wonderful and very necessary cover for the birds. During hard freezes it would be well for farmers to put out grain for them to feed on.

Many people enjoy hunting this wonderful game bird. Shooting correctly, taking only about three birds from a covey, would do a great deal to improve the following season's hunting.

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Killdee KILLDEER

Charadrius vociferus

Killdeer: One of our plovers which is found from the seashore to the dry fields.

The Killdeer is our best known Plover. It frequents not only the shores but often is found in damp fields and even in dry upland fields.

It is about the size of a Robin. The two black bands on the breast are very conspicuous markings and also the orange brown at the base of the tail.

The nest of the Killdeer consists only of a small depression in the open ground. Four eggs, almost ground-color, are laid. These hatch in three and one-half weeks. Both male and female help in the incubation and caring for the young. They are, however, very much able to take care of themselves shortly after they are dry.

The Killdeer gets its name from the sound of its note. However, often the name "Killdee" is used.

This is one of our most beneficial birds since it eats harmful insects in cultivated fields, such as alfalfa weevils, cotton-boll weevils, caterpillars, flies, ticks, and crustaceans. For this reason, we must do all we can to protect such a beautiful and useful bird.

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