Thursday, July 16, 2009

We've been adopted.

By a Red Shouldered Hawk, that is. I woke this morning to the call of a bird. It continued from about 5:30 AM - 8:30 AM. When Hubs awoke, I told him that initially I thought it was a seagull, but he confirmed that it was a hawk. He said that often he will tell people that they sound like a seagull. The calls? Territorial in nature.

Our hawk swooped down this evening, giving me a lovely show of the under belly and perched in one of the trees in the yard just behind us. Does it live there? We don't quite know. It's pretty nifty if it does. It definitely lives close by.

Hawks are federally protected. They are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. I was reading up on it and found this section to be particularly disturbing.

What Might be a Violation of the Act?

One example of a violation of the Act occurred in Arizona in the 1970s. A nesting pair of Common Black-Hawks (Buteogallus anthracinus) was found in an area frequented by birders. Overly enthusiastic individuals, in their attempts to observe and photograph the pair, caused the nest and its contents to be abandoned. Although no one was charged in this incident, the collective actions of the birders resulted in the "taking" of migratory birds because the eggs were "killed" as a result of the parent birds' absence.

There are a number of incidents involving rails, birders, and violations of the Act. several examples of Black Rails (Laterallus jamaicensis) being pursued, captured, and photographed in the hand exist for the eastern and western seaboards of the U.S. In the mid-1970s, a group of Wisconsin birders chased a Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) around a sandy area in Milwaukee harbor. Eventually, the exhausted rail was stepped on by an overly enthusiastic human. The "take" provision of the Act was violated by the attempted capture and killing of the bird.

A practice used by some birders to view hole-nesting birds is to repeatedly hit the side of a nest tree, causing the adult birds to leave the hole. This activity can be considered "taking" if the bird is intentionally chased from its nest and the inadvertent death of young birds or abandonment of eggs occurs.

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas hosted a Golden-crowned Warbler (Basileuterus culicivorus) and a Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivacea) from late January to early February 1990. Excessive pressure by birders caused refuge personnel to cordon off an area of the refuge frequented by the grassquit to ensure some protection of both the vegetation and the grassquit. Despite the site's being prominently fenced, numerous birders crossed over the cordon, trampling and destroying vegetation. Their behavior may have ultimately caused the birds (both the warbler and grassquit) to depart the area. Although no violation of the Act occurred, these activities took place on a National Wildlife Refuge in violation of the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee; 80 Stat.927) (hereafter, the "Refuge Administration Act").

Although the Act does not specifically prohibit harassment to view birds, it is a different matter with the ESA. The ESA specifically prohibits people from harassing endangered or threatened species. In general, intentional or negligent actions that cause an endangered or threatened species to significantly change its normal behavior patterns (e.g., nesting, feeding, shelter) to the extent that the likelihood of injury to the animal may occur can be considered harassment under the ESA (50 CFR 17.3).

I mean really, do people have to beat on trees, run after birds (and step on them) and to ignore postings to keep out of protected areas just to get a photo?

We'll happily keep our early morning calling Red Shouldered Hawk. We like having him around. We'll be thrilled to watch him from a distance. We're thrilled to have our neighborhood claimed by him!

Smiles in my day:
- K- believing in the Pick-Up Fairy and leaving small gifts for her. (Adopted from this months Parents magazine, if I remember right.) The Pick-Up Fairy, to those who don't know, is a fairy that shows up after children are sleeping to confiscate toys that have been left about and keeps them for a week. She keeps wanting to leave a snack for the Pick-Up Fairy, but I told her that I called and checked to see when her snack night is. I told her it is Thursday. The child is planning a buffet fit for a king for the Pick-Up Fairy! And yes, all of her toys have been tidied and her room is spotless. HOORAY!
- A less annoying customer day.
- Julia was on an up-yo day. Yesterday was a down-yo day. A very down-yo day. (Her mom died a month ago.) She's having a time of it, but I was glad to see her smile today.
- My father-in-law was pleased with the repair job that Hubs did on their cupboard door that I broke Tuesday. Long story short, K- lacks in "listening to her fill-line" and Tuesday evening ended in her emptying the contents of her stomach onto the concrete outside of their garage and all over their bathroom floor. I grabbed a container out of the kitchen cupboard and smacked the door as I was running. I cracked a portion of the door, but now it is all fixed and re-hung. Thanks, Hubs!


Rach said...

Hey Amy,

I've been getting in later than usual as I've been hanging out with my sister-in-law and niece who are flying back to Phoenix today. Glad to know I've been missed, though. ;o)

How fun to have a *very* cool bird around. That is just wonderful! :o)

As for your friend on the yo-yo, I'll keep her in my prayers. What a horrible horrible time for her.

Melissa said...


Just de-lurking to tell you to watch if you have cats. My parents had a hawk one year and the neighborhood cats kept on disappearing and re-appearing in my parents back yard as evicerated bits.

Bailey's Leaf said...


Thanks for the word of warning. We do have an indoor cat, but there is a rabbit that has claimed our backyard as his home. I have been concerned for him, but there's nothing we can do about that one. A Cooper's Hawk once trounced on a rabbit in our backyard, I called Hubs to report the death and that ewww! I wasn't dealing with it, only to find that the Cooper's Hawk returned later to retrieve its meal. Gotta let nature run its course with that one, I suppose. But hopefully, the Red Shouldered Hawk will take out the yucky cat that has claimed our yard, pees and poops in my flower beds and scared our iguana so bad that it made it drop its tail. Nevermind that we have a fenced in backyard that had the gate shut. It doesn't care. It skinnies in to torture the poor iguana who just likes to sunbathe.

Hey! Thanks for de-lurking! Glad to have you visit!

Bailey's Leaf said...

PS Yes, the iguana is in an outdoor cage.

Jamie said...

Pretty cool that you have a hawk hanging around. I bet that belly view was awesome!