As beautiful as they are, raptors are remorseless assassins. The term “raptor” comes from that Latin term rapere meaning to seize or to take by force. The emergence of the various species of raptor coincided with the development of the Rocky Mountains themselves around 45-55 million years ago. This may have been merely coincidental but the majesty of a screeching hawk soaring effortlessly framed by the snow-capped peaks of the Mission Mountains or the geological drama of the Continental Divide would lead one to believe otherwise. Of the 34 North American species of diurnal raptors, 16 can be found with some regularity in Montana.