Red-Tailed Hawks at home in Autrey Park. Bald Eagles soaring over Coalton Trailhead. Juvenile Great Horned Owls learning to fly near Community Park. Superior is home to many types of raptors and is also a great place to see them!
Raptors include hawks, eagles, owls and falcons. Those found in Superior are often large birds but some can be just larger than a Jay. All raptors are agile predators with keen vision, sharp talons or toes and strong hooked beaks.
The most common raptor in Colorado and Superior is the Red-Tailed Hawk. The largest hawk, they have rounded, rusty red tails and more than 90% of their diet is rodents. You are likely to see them perched up high on a pole or traffic signal along McCaslin, at the tip top of a tree near Autry Park or cruising a greenbelt in Rock Creek.
Superior is also home to several Great Horned Owls. They are the largest and most common owl in the US and Colorado. However, in Superior you are more likely to hear them at night hooting from a rooftop than see them. Great Horned Owls are usually on the move hunting at night and are well camouflaged resting in mature trees along Superior’s creeks during the day. If you are lucky enough to spot one, they are easily recognizable by large feathers that look like ears sticking up on top of their heads.
Other raptors commonly seen in Superior include: American Kestrels, Sharp-Shinned Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks. Less common but still seen within Superior are Bald Eagles, Broad-Winged Hawks, Northern Harriers and Burrowing Owls.
Thanks to the staff of Superior Parks, Recreation and Open Space, the Superior Board of Trustees and the Superior Open Space Advisory Committee, a dedicated group of bird and wildlife enthusiasts who now volunteer to keep an eye on Superior’s raptors. The Superior Raptor Monitoring Program is modeled after Boulder’s nationally recognized program and is helping us learn where in Superior raptors like to nest and search for food. With this information, we can better understand what species make Superior their home and help these birds thrive.