Hawk. Hawks are the fierce little brothers in the eagle and vulture family. Adult hawks vary from one to two feet in length. They are known for their exceptional eyesight, which is about eight times as keen as man’s. Solomon remarked, “Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird” (Prov. 1:17).
The farsighted hawk not only detects nets from a distance, but he can also see mice, insects, and birds. He strikes with devastating swiftness, his powerful claws crushing his prey, which he eats whole.
Some 18 species of hawk exist in Palestine, among them the small sparrow hawk. This hawk, which Egyptians considered sacred, nests in a hollow tree, amid old ruins, or upon a rock. As winter approaches, it migrates to a warmer climate.
Harrier hawks are found in the valleys and low-lying plains. They glide nearer the ground and “harry” other birds by forcing them to land.
Kites (gledes) are a larger breed of hawk, with long narrow wings (Deut. 14:13). Red kites, black kites, and Egyptian kites are found in Palestine. Kites in Syria hide their nests by draping them with cloth scraps or animal skins. Just as they abstained from eating other birds of prey, Israelites did not eat hawks (Lev. 11:16; Deut. 14:15).