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February 19, 2011 Update

by Bob Sallinger


Posted on February 19, 2011 at 11:35 AM

The hawks have been diligently building their nest. As viewers have noted on the blog, the nest is indeed bigger. Each year they augment the nest and add new layers. This provides a clean substrate on which to lay their eggs. As you can imaging the nest from last year is pretty caked with feces and food remains. When I visited the nest this winter, I took removed a significant amount of garbage. These birds seem to have an affinity for incorporating strips of rubber into the nest, but also plastic objects, plastic bags, string and chord, etc.

I am pretty certain that we are seeing the same pair of adults. They remained near the site year round. Red-tails are migratory but Portland is a temperate climate. Some red-tails migrate in from the north to spend the winter in the metro region--in fact our winter populations of birds of prey far exceed our breeding season populations. Others simply migrate through. Some of our local breeding birds stay year round while other migrate both short and long distances southward.

Red-tails do mate for life. However there can be replacement either because another bird challenges or because one of the pair dies.

We are still working out the kinks in the system, but everything should be good to go by the time the first egg is laid. Frank and crew are working diligently to get the mic up and running and on some other new features as well.

K2, the fledgling from last year that was injured and could not be released back to the wild, was transferred to OMSI's facility at Camp Hancock in Central Oregon. I will check on how he is doing and get folks an update. OMSI like Audubon has an educational bird program which uses non-releasable raptors to introduce the public to these birds up close and personal.

Activity should continue to be intermittent for another couple of weeks. The adults will periodically visit and bring materials to the nest . As we get closer to egg laying, the activity will intensify.

Enjoy the sunny weather!