The Birds of Prey is an all-female strike team run and administered by the network administrator Oracle.
Preferring to operate out of the public limelight, the team enacts covert operations against threats that are comparatively more clandestine than the "public" threats enacted by the Supervillain community.
The core of the team is made up of Oracle and her primary operatives Black Canary and Huntress. Other heroines form a rotating roster within the team and are chosen for varying periods of time largely depending on how their abilities may aid in a specific mission.
After working as a member of Task Force X, Oracle took to recruiting singular field agents to aid in political hotspots around the world. Habitually choosing heroines who were at a low-point in their careers, one of Oracle's first agents was Power Girl (who at the time had lost half of her power and had discovered that what she thought was her past was actually someone else's memories), however, during a mission to protect a president-in-exile in Qurac, the heroine was forced to chose between saving the president's life and the lives of a thousand civilian refugees. Due to her underpowered state, Power Girl was unable to meet the task and both the president and the refugees died. Power Girl cut off all contact with Oracle there-after.
Needing a new agent, Oracle searched through the available heroines who would be open to her aid but useful as an agent and chose Black Canary. While initially set on a rocky path, the two heroines and their methodologies complemented each other and the pair formed a competent partnership that saw the fall of terrorism forces, slave rings and tyrannical regimes. Although an effective team, at times Oracle had to call in assistance for Canary and over time these "back-up forces" grew.
When Canary was captured and had her legs broken during a mission against a man known as Savant, who intended to blackmail Oracle into giving him Batman's identity, Oracle called in the Huntress to rescue her. As Canary was recovering, Oracle continued to employ Huntress as her temporary field agent while Canary retrained and eventually rejoined Huntress in the field.
Following the city-wide gang war that saw the Black Mask discover and infiltrate the Clocktower, Oracle opted to abandon the location and set up a mobile headquarters onboard a heavily modified Citation X business jet dubbed "Aerie 1"; recruiting the time-displaced Lady Blackhawk as the team's aviator. From her mobile headquarters, Oracle turned her attention to wayward vigilantes who were killing people in the name of "justice" before settling in Metropolis.
Following the Infinite Crisis, the Birds of Prey continue to enact clandestine missions, with Oracle expanding the operative roster to incorporate team missions in the never ending fight of good against evil.
The Birds of Prey first appeared in Birds of Prey: Black Canary/Oracle #1 (1995).
By the time Black Canary needed assistance from Ra's al Ghul, the team's "back-up forces" consisted of Jason Bard, Power Girl, Blue Beetle, Militia and "Honey".
In order to maintain contact with Oracle, Dinah was provided with a set of microphone earrings and necklace shaped in the symbols of a canary. The jewelry also possesses a homing beacon so that Oracle can track her agent's position.
Originally, the team operated without an official name. As a joke, Lady Blackhawk suggested the name "Birds of Prey" and the name stuck; quickly spreading through the criminal underworld to be used to refer to the various all-female hero strike teams that the group had become notorious for.
Huntress once noted that the team was a "Rehab Center for Broken Heroines" due to the way Oracle picked heroines that were in need of direction or aid.
After Oracle began to succumb to the technological infection Brainiac had implanted within her, she was taken under the care of Doctor Mid-Nite at the JSA headquarters where Superman and Cyborg, due to their expertise in Brainiac and technology respectively, over saw her surgery. During this, an unknown benefactor (Batman) continuously spent what amounted to a small fortune in seeing that she was provided the best medical professionals and equipment in the world.
The villain equivalent of the Birds of Prey is the Ravens; an all-female villain team led by Cheshire. As a mercenary force, Cheshire recruits agents for the team when she requires additional assistance in completing a contract or mission.