Welcome to the Swainson's Hawk Watch

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.

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:
http://swainsonshawkwatch.blogspot.com

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

Friday, May 6, 2011

Red-Tailed Hawk Cam: Egg hatches in NY.

I found this article about a Red-Tailed Hawk nest in New York where a live web cam has been set up to watch the nest and hatching of 3 eggs.  There was concern that the incubation period had gone on too long and the eggs might not hatch.  However, the web cam recently recorded one egg hatching.

Here is a link to the article.

Red-Tailed Hawks are apparently laying on eggs

I have been watching the old Swainson's Hawk nest and have never seen any evidence that the Swainson's have come back.  Meanwhile a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks have clearly taken over the nest and are apparently laying on eggs now.  These could be hatching any time and I will try to photo document what I see during the summer.  If we see chicks I may start a new blog for the Red-Tailed Hawks.

I have uploaded a few Red-Taiiled photos around the nest I have taken to a Picasa Web Album .

Below is a good close up shot of one of the birds flying above the nest..

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Red Tail Hawk visiting 2010 Swainson's Hawk Nest

Yesterday evening as it was cloudy and getting dark I finally did see and photograph a hawk coming back and forth to the 2010 Swainson's Hawk nest. This Hawk definitely looks like a Red Tail Hawk as Bill from the Conservation Research Foundation suggested it might be.  Last year it was about mid april before we started seeing the Swainson's Hawks.  I guess we will have to wait a little longer.  I doubt that a Red Tail Hawk would use this nest for the summer, but we will find out as time goes by.

  Below are a few photos highlighting the red color in the tail of this hawk..







Friday, March 18, 2011

Need to verify Hawk species coming to 2010 Swainson's Hawk nest.

I have been in communication with local Hawk research scientists about the Swainson's Hawk nest and reported to them yesterday that neighbors had been seeing at least one hawk visiting the old nest several times this past week.  However, I received the following message today noting that this would be a very early date for Swainson's Hawks to return to Boise and we should try to get a more positive identification.

Thanks, Gary.
We see many Swainson’s nests with local red-tails near them early in the year.
You might visit that site to determine whether or not the hawk in question is actually a Swainson’s. If so, March 12 is probably a record for early arrival.
Let me know. We appreciate your interest and good observations/photography of this species!
Bill  
  
Conservation Research Foundation
I have not yet seen any of the Hawks or been able to photograph one. I would like to ask any of the neighbors who see the hawks again to try to get a positive ID and a picture if possible.

FYI,  Here are links to photo ID sites for Red Tail Hawks and Swainson's Hawks from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology/ All About Birds web site.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Swainson's Hawk Reappears at Boise, Idaho Nest on March 12, 2011

On Sunday, March 12, 2011 a neighbor who lives across the street from the 2010 Swainson's Hawk nest observed a single hawk flying around and landing on the old nest.  Later I heard from another neighbor who lives a block away that he saw one that same day land on the same nest.  Another neighbor saw one sitting in the nest early in the evening during the week and today another neighbor called me about noon to report that he saw one just land and sit on the nest.  I rode my bike over then with my camera, but did not see the hawk on the nest or in the sky flying.

This is almost a month earlier than we saw them near this nest last year.  We hope these visits will mean that they may try to use the same nest again.  I will continue to update this blog with reports of sightings and photographs as often as possible.

On the VirtualBirder.com web site there is a report on March 10 from the National Birding Hotline Cooperative, that in the Los Angeles,  California area -

SWAINSON’S HAWKS are moving through, with a flock of 15 reported near Newhall
Pass on March 4.  Single birds were also over Claremont on March 3 and 4.

On March 16,  "The Birding Lists Digest" Hawk Watch report from the Santa Ana NWR, near Alamo Texas, there is a report of 2 Swainson's Hawks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2 Swainson's Hawks in Clouds above Idaho Bird Observatory

We drove up the windy, bumpy, one lane dirt road 5 miles up to the Idaho Bird Observatory this afternoon.  As we parked and walked the 200 meters to the top of the peak a big thundercloud passed over and  drops of rain started to fall.  We almost started back, but this one black cloud passed over and we saw a nice rainbow before walking back to the top of the peak.  There we finally saw two Swainson's Hawks soaring together high in the clouds.  Down below a storm front was coming in from the west over Boise and we returned down the dirt road to the highway before another rain storm started.

Click image for a larger view!

Click image for a larger view!

Click image for a larger view!

20 Swainson's Hawks Soar Over Summer 2010 Nest Area

This morning about 10:AM a neighbor called me to report that she had just seen about 20 hawks soaring over the neighborhood nesting area.  She reported that they began to soar towards the east as she watched and called me.  I hurried over to the area and to a view to the east toward the foothills with my camera, but did not see the hawks.  I also went over to the hayfield, but did not see them there either.

Today, or in the next few days, I might try to go up to the Idaho Bird Observatory, where they are reporting seeing some hawks every day.

Meanwhile, I found two photos I took of a Swainsons hawk flying nearby while we were in the Bear Valley area before we visited Dagger Falls on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River last July 4.  I will post these below.

Click on the image for a larger view!

Click on the image for a larger view!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Kettle" of flying Hawks (some Swainson's) seen above Panama

I found a few photos showing hawks bunching up into "kettles" as they soar and migrate south during the fall.  This and other similar images can be found on the following "Picsearch page site" provided by Panama Birding.com

Click on the image for a larger view!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Swainson's Hawk Soars and Watches Hay Bales Being Gathered.

This morning the farmer using his tractor and machine to gather up the last one third of the hay bales in the field.   I walked through the field hoping that a hawk might make an appearance and finally one did.  It soared, banked and hovered over the field for a few minutes then disappeared in the distance.  It never did come to the ground while I was watching.   Below are a few photographs I was able to capture.

Note that for many of the photos in the photo album I was using a 300 mm lens on a digital camera, which translates to 450 mm.  I dropped this lens one day an it is being repaired.  Meanwhile I have been using a 200 mm lens, (digital 300 mm)  The hawk photos below would be somewhat closer with the larger lens.  Also this hawk was up in the sky quite a ways.  Sorry!

Click on the image for a larger view!

Click on the image for a larger view!

Click on the image for a larger view!

Click on the image for a larger view!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hawks Visit Hay Field Mowed for the 3rd Time

 In the past several days I have only seen one hawk soaring way above the Straw Bale House on September 4.

Click on the image for a larger view!

However, In the past two days I have seen two hawks near the hayfield that has been mowed for the 3rd time this year. The first time was yesterday, Sunday September 12.  At first I did not see any hawks, but then I heard a crow making a lot of noise.  As I looked around in the sky I finally saw one hawk flying over the field with a crow in pursuit.  Today, about the same time I saw one hawk fly past from the field going toward the nest site.  I was not able to get a photo as it flew past.  When I walked past the nest site and the favorite perching tree a few minutes later I did not see the hawk.

Click on the image for a larger view!

Click on the image for a larger view!

Click on the image for a larger view!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Idaho Bird Observatory trapped a Swainson's Hawk

On the Idaho Bird Observatory's Facebook page there is a "Wall Photo" of a Swainson's Hawk that was caught in the migratory bird traps on Lucky Peak on Tuesday August 31. (Click on the link above to see the photo in a large view! Or, click on the link below to see the Facebook Page)

Idaho Bird Observatory Jay Carlisle with the Swainson's Hawk he trapped on tuesday. thanks to Rob Miller for the great photo! :)