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June 10th Update plus some other raptor information

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on June 10, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

We are now in the "post-fledging period." I am getting lots of reports by phone and email about people seeing both the adults and fledglings in various locations in proximity to the nest. One person wrote to say that he saw an adult pick-off a squirrel on a power line and deliver it to a juvenile that was waiting on a window ledge nearby. Many people within Big Pink (US Bank Tower) have seen them flying around that structure at various levels and landing on the rooftop.

If all goes well, this is the way it should be for several weeks. You will see the hawks individually and in groups. The young will be seen flying together and dogfighting to practice their skills. The young will increasingly try to hunt for themselves--they do this instinctively--but the adults will also continue to provide them with food. You may see the adults forcing the young to chase them for a bit before giving over food---biologists believe that this helps the young develop skills that they will need to effectively hunt on their own. You may also see begging behavior known as "flutter gliding" where the young where they drop and spread their tail and bend and lower their wings below horizontal. Biologists believe that this may be a behavior that has developed to differentiate begging youngsters from aggressive competitors. As time goes on the young will venture further and further from the nest area and spend more time on their own. By late summer they will be fending entirely for themselves.

For folks interested in getting out in the field and watching hawks, an osprrey nest in South Waterfront offers great viewing opportunities. Osprey (once known as fish hawks) often nest on man made structures including channel markers and utility poles. In 2007 a pair of osprey took up residence and raised young on a utility pole along the South Waterfront Greenway. The nest was removed and the pole was capped after the nesting season due to hazards created by the proximity of the nest to the electrical equipment. Osprey have strong fidelity to their nest sites and return year after year and sure enough they did return to find their nest site no long accessible. Over the past year we have worked with PacifiCorp, South Waterfront Residents and Zidell Marine to offer the osprey a new nesting location. In early spring Zidell constructed a new pole and platform and within a couple of weeks the osprey returned from their wintering grounds in Mexico and took-up residence. They are currently raising at least one young in the nest. Go down to the South Waterfront Development (the big glass skyscrapers at the south end of Portland, walk to the river and look north. The nest is at the end of the greenway. Should be great viewing opportunities for weeks to come as the parents hunt and bring in fish to their nest.

(c) sallinger 033.jpg

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