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Do humans watching disturb the Red-tail Hawks?

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on February 12, 2010 at 1:31 PM

I'm sometimes asked: Won’t the humans watching them through the building windows disturb them?

In general, birds of prey are sensitive to disturbance by humans. Most raptors typically choose nest sites that are a safe distance from ground predators including humans.

However certain individuals within a species sometimes exhibit a higher tolerance towards humans than others.

The general the rule of thumb is that activity that is ongoing when a pair of birds choose their nest site is okay, but increasing the intensity of the activity or adding new activities in close proximity to the nest area after nesting has begun will often cause nest failure.

In past years, windows that look directly onto the nest have been covered to reduce disturbance.

Red-tails are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and interference with an active nest is a crime.

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