Sunday, April 18, 2010

Short-tailed Hawks

Last month saw so few postings because I was deep in a manuscript on the first nest of Short-tailed Hawk found in the western US. In May 2007, Helen and Noel Snyder found the nest high in the Chiricahua Mountains, and several of us took turns spending days in a tower blind, observing the hawks' behavior and detailing their nesting biology. Noel was the paper's senior author, and just yesterday it went into the mail to Western Birds, a fine regional journal focused on field ornithology. Now... freedom!

During my sojourn in the blind, the female Short-tail confronted an Apache Fox Squirrel which was climbing the nest tree. When the squirrel was about 80 feet above the ground, the hawk slammed into it several times, driving it leaping down the tree. Here is a drawing that depicts the rout!

Short-tailed Hawk Defends Her Nest
(Pen and ink by Narca)

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