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Wild hawks in downtown Portland?

by Bob Sallinger


Posted on February 12, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:25 AM

The City of Portland is located on the Pacific Flyway and offers important nesting, wintering and migratory habitat for over 200 species of birds. An amazing array of birds can be seen not only in our natural areas such as Oaks Bottom, Ross Island, Forest Park, Smith and Bybee Lakes and Sauvie Island, but also in our backyards and neighborhoods. One of the most spectacular birds commonly seen in our city is the red-tailed hawk. (Buteo jamaicensis).

In the spring of 2007, a pair of red-tails nested on the fire escape of an office building in the middle of downtown Portland. During that first season, we installed a cheap webcam and received over 40,000 hits on the new site in a matter of weeks.

In 2008, thanks to a generous anonymous donation, we were able to upgrade the equipment and visitors to the site exceeded 400,000.

Last year site visitors approach a million and viewers tuned in from all over the country and the world.

Through it all, the hawks simply did what came naturally: nested, raised their young and taught them the ways of the world. Viewers will get an unfiltered view of life for birds in the middle of the city.

In past years viewers have watched while the parents built carefully built their nest. They have seen the eggs being laid and watched as they hatched. We have watched as the young seemed to literally grow before our eyes and observed the drama of their first wobbly flights. We have also seen young succumb to disease and suffer collisions with cars. It is all part of life in the city for these birds...