Welcome to the Swainson's Hawk Watch

May 15, 2015 - A pair of Swainson's Hawks have been mating and building a new nest in a different neighborhood tree. I will try to start adding a few new 2015 photos of this pair as the summer progresses. (Scroll down on this page to see the 2015 blog posts in chronological order.)

July 3, 2015 - Sadly, the 3 chicks have fallen out of the nest and perished. This blog chronicles activities around the nest until this tragic event, with the July 3 post below the first you will read.

Note! These and additional photos (total = 154) are viewable in this Swainson's Hawks blog 2015 Picasa Web album.

Archive, May 2014 two Swainson's Hawks have been mating in a tree about a block from the old 2010 -2011 nest site. I have not seen them in a nest yet but have seen them mate three times in the same tree over a two day period.

Whenever possible I will try to post photos on this blog again this year, especially if we can identify the nest site where we can see the chicks growing and fledgling. Note! See the first photos below on the May 5, 2014 blog post below.

Archive 2010 & 2011.
In April of 2010, a pair of wild Swainson's Hawks decided to nest in our neighborhood in Boise, Idaho. This "Hawk Watch" will attempt to record words and photographs describing the Hawks behaviors, including the hatching & fledgling of chicks over the spring and summer. Many others who live in the neighborhood also watched the daily activities of the hawks and used this blog to keep up on my own observations and photographs.

Note! May 6, 2011 Two Red-tailed Hawks have settled on the old nest and appear to be laying on eggs now. See blog posts below. Here is a link to 56 Red-tailed hawk photographs from 2011 I uploaded to my Picasa Web Album.

Note! On March 12, 2011 two neighbors reported seeing a single hawk flying around and landing on the nest. Hopefully they will nest here again or nearby and we can continue the blog through 2011.
Note! Please Try to "Follow" the Blog and check in often. I am trying to update this site and the photo album at least once or twice a week. This page scrolls down to the blog entries below this introduction. The first blog entry you will see is the latest one. Scrolling the page down will reveal earlier posts in descending chronological order. And/or you can use the Blog Archive on the right side of the screen to see entries for May, through October 2010 and newer ones for 2011.
Please feel free to share this Blog with your family and friends. The URL you can email to them is:

Note ! I am posting "all" of the hawk images to an album in my Picasa Web account. Below is the web URL for that album. You can click on that hot link and/or also click on the Hawk lifting off branch photo to go to that album. As of October 3, there are 600 individual images in the album.

Note! When looking at a single photo in the album use the "full screen" icon for a larger, more impressive size!

Hawk lifting off branch

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 3, 2015 Sadly - Neighbor reports that chicks fell out of the nest.

Because I had not seen any activity in the nest for a few days I went around the block to the neighbor who has the yard the nest tree was in.

As soon as I mentioned that I was monitoring the hawks he said that all three had all fallen out of the tree one by one over a period of 2 days.  When he found each of them they had already perished.  The first one was the smallest and the last one was somewhat bigger with feathers that were starting to turn grey.

For more than a week I had been worried that I had not seen the male hawk flying around or bringing food back to the nest.  Earlier I had seen him doing this and thought it was strange.  It was also interesting that the female hawk would leave the nest often.  I thought she might be going after food, but every time I saw her she as bringing leaves back to the nest.  This behavior started when the air temperature began to get close to the 90s.

It was really sad to learn that these 3 young chicks could not survive to adulthood where we could watch them flex their wings and learn to fly.

I have posted a few of the photos I shot on this blog to document activities I saw around the nest during the weeks from mating until now.

However, I have also posted additional photos for a total of 154   of the Swainson's Hawks from 2015 in a this Picasa Web Album link. 

Enjoy the blog posts below for 2015 and others in past years as you scroll down.  And please send comments if you want.

July 3, 2015 Female Hawk has food, but does not return to nest

Today it is 102 degrees.

In the morning I saw the female hawk in the roost tree and she flew away with food.  However she did not return to the nest.  There does not seem to be any activity in the nest at all.

July 2, 2015 Hawk brings food back to empty nest.

Today it is 104 degrees.

In the evening I saw what I believe was the female hawk bring food back to the nest at two different times within a half hour.  Looking more closely at the photos the male hawk may have been in at least one of the photos.  The female hawk has very distinctive v shaped dark breast feathers and the male does not.

However, I cannot see any chicks in the nest and she does not appear to be trying to feed.  I am really worried that something has happened to the chicks.

July 1, 2015 (Evening) No birds are visible in the nest.

It appears that something has happened at the Swainson's Hawk nest.

Today is is again 102 degrees.

As I walked past the tree in the evening I could not see the female hawk or any of the chicks in the nest area.  Finally I did see the female hawk in the roost tree.  When she flew back to the nest tree   she landed and stayed in the branches above where the nest had been.  In the photos below the nest was in the hole to the center  lower right of the branches.  In one photo the female hawk is standing among the branches to the upper left.

June 30, 2015 (Evening) Male Hawk appears to have prey at roost tree.

I have not seen the male hawk for several days and wondered if something might have happened to him.  However, as I walked past the nest in the evening the male hawk was at the roost tree and appeared to have some prey to eat. He flew off but I did not see him go back to the nest with this food.

June 30, 2015 (Morning) Female Hawk brings more leaves

Today it is 102 degrees.

The mother hawk leaves the nest and I can see at least one chick.  She brings back more leaves and it looks like there may be at least two chicks visible in front of her in the nest.

June 29, 2015 Chicks still barely visible.

In the last few days I have not been able to photograph the hawks but it has been very hot in Boise.  On the 27th it was 106 degrees and on the 28th it was 110 degrees.  Today it is 103 degrees and is forecast to be above 100 for the next several days.

This is the only photo I shot and the white chicks are still barely visible in the nest to the left of the female hawk.

June 27, 2015 - Male hawk has not been seen for awhile

Today it is 106 degrees.

I try to walk past the nest only a couple of times a day.  Consequently, I do not see all of the action happening around the nest.  However it seems that for some reason the female hawk is out of the nest more often and I have not seen the male hawk coming back to the nest with food for a couple of days.

The Female hawk flys to a resting roost and flys off to bring more leaves to the nest.

June 26, 2015 3 Chicks were visible in the nest

On June 26 I could see 3 distinct chicks in the nest.   It has been in the 90 degree range in Boise the last few weeks, which is warmer than usual. Today it is 101 degrees and forcast to get warmer,  in the next few days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mother Hawk goes out for more nest leaves

This morning I walked past the nest two times and the second time the Mother hawk was in the often used roost tree closer to the road than the nest.  I waited because I know she won't stay away from the nest for any length of time.  Finally she flew off toward the hay field where the adults hunt and in a few minutes she returned with another tree branch with a bunch of leaves for the nest.  This time she carried the branch in her talons.  Yesterday she carried the branch with leaves in her beak.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Female Hawk gathers more leaves

This morning as I walked past the nest the female hawk was out of the nest and standing on a nearby tree limb.  I watched as she flew away toward the hunting field and soon she returned to the nest with a branch containing a bunch of leaves, possibly to provide shade or comfort for the 3 chicks in the nest.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Female Hawk brings new leaves to the nest

The nest is high in a tree with some leaves at the level of the nest.  The chicks are hard to see unless they poke their heads up.  In the last post I noted that I had seen 2 heads at the same time and a few days ago with binoculars I finally saw 3 heads together as the female hawk fed them.  I will try to get photos of all three together soon.

Meanwhile, the other day  as I walked past the nest  I could not see an adult in the nest.  It was mid day and quite warm.  I waited for a few minutes and one adult flew towards the nest with a beak full of green leaves.  My thought is that the adult is trying to bring more shade or at least a softer bed for the chicks.  In a few minutes the male hawk flew in with a meal for the chicks.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Two Swainson's Hawk Chicks are now visible in the nest

From my last post on May 15,  I have seen and photographed the adults in the air, in various trees and in the nest.  In general it has been pretty quiet for several weeks.  I could see the female hawk sitting on the nest and knew she must be laying on eggs.  Finally two days ago I was able to see one white head poking up and then a second one.  The female flew away and left them alone in the nest for a few minutes and then came back.  The male flew in and apparently left a meal as the female started to feed the chicks.  I am shooting from some distance with a telephoto lens through branches and it is hard to get a very sharp focus, but here are a few of the first Swainson's Hawk chick photos from our neighborhood nest in 2015.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Building the Hawk nest

This Swainson's Hawk flew to the nest with a bunch of leaves in its talons, dropped them off and flew off again.

Swainson's Hawk Female sitting in new nest

On May 3, 2015 the female was sitting in the new nest.

And again on May 4, I saw the female in the nest.

On May 5, one hawk flew to the nest with prey in it's talons.  It may be a squirrel.

Swainson's Hawks flying

On April 30, 2015 with my telephoto lens I was able to get a few good flying photos of the hawks.