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This sea eagle hunches over and spreads its wings to hide a fresh kill.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Raptors are great hunters, but it takes practice. When they’re learning, young raptors make mistakes. T ey go aſt er the wrong kind of prey, or try to hunt prey that is too big. T ey drop their prey, or lose it in a fight. It’s not unusual for a larger animal to want

to take a raptor’s prey away. T at’s why hawk parents must teach their young a behavior called mantling. Sea eagles display this behavior. A sea eagle

will hunch its shoulders and spread its wings over a kill. T is keeps prey hidden from other predators and gives the sea eagle time to eat. It takes most raptors months before they can

fly and hunt well enough to live on their own. Until they are ready, their parents stay close. Raptor parents teach their young all they need to know to survive. Some day, these chicks will have chicks of their own to teach.

FAST FACT: Raptors have three eyelids. The third eyelid protects the eyes during

fl ight and when they eat. OCTOBER 2014 9 WORDWISE

fl edgling: a bird that is learning to fl y hawking: capturing prey in fl ight

mantling: the action of hunching shoulders and spreading wings over a recent kill to hide it from predators

raptor: a bird of prey still hunting: to hunt from a perch

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