So off we walked...
Just two houses down...whoa...we spot a mass quantity of Harris hawks drinking from a large water feature. Several just gave us the 'stink eye' and didn't fly off. They've been hunting around our neighborhood in cooperative groups (two to six) for many years and they're not bothered at all by our presence.
While most raptors are solitary, only coming together for breeding and migration, Harris's hawks will hunt in packs. Presumably, hunting packs are an adaptation to the desert climate. (Heck, that is exactly how desert coyote hunt).
In one hunting technique, a small group flies ahead and scouts, then another group member flies ahead and scouts, and this continues until prey is bagged and shared. In another, all the hawks spread around the prey and one bird flushes it out. I've seen pairs of Cooper's hawks doing this hunting technique.
Sadly, the wild Harris's hawk population is declining due to habitat loss; however, under some circumstances, they have been known to move into developed areas and that may be why we see so many in our northwest neighborhood. Our humble home is nestled at the base of Pusch Ridge mountain range where wilderness and urbanization meet.
Over the years I've taken many images of these beautiful prey birds. Here's a family portrait of the group that lives out back. Ironically, I see them every morning just after I feed the backyard birds. Wink.
For several weeks I watched mama teaching her fledglings to fly and hunt. Yesterday she was with one youngster flying from front yard to back, pole to pole, landing in the neighbor's palm tree. They were using the hunting technique where a small group flies ahead to scout, then another group member flies ahead, and so forth.
Also from Wikipedia, "Individual Harris hawks range in length from 46 to 76 cm (18 to 30 in) and generally have a wingspan of about 1.1 m (3.6 ft) They exhibit sexual dimorphism with the females being larger by about 35%. In the United States, the average weight for males is about 710 g (25 oz), while the female average is 1,020 g (36 oz). They have dark brown plumage with chestnut shoulders, wing linings, and thighs, white on the base a tip of the tail, long, yellow legs and a yellow cere. The vocalizations of the Harris's hawk are very harsh sounds." I'll admit, their screech does scare me.