The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

A story about a man and a nest

(Matt Person, a local birder, has been journaling his experiences observing a nest of hawks and a seabird colony. When we left you last month, Matt had just discovered an egg in the hawks’ nest and had hoped to witness the hatching of the birds. We bring you now to his first observations of the young hawks.)Matt gazes in fascination as the young birds stretch and flap their wings. One of them meandered over to the edge of its nest to view the world below. The adults were circling in the air above the nest, calling to the youngsters in an attempt to prod them to leave their bed of sticks. The parents had quit bringing food to the nest so the young hawks would leave on their own.But to Matt, they appeared indecisive. As the young flapped flap around their nest exercising their wings, confidence would build until they made little flights from one side of the nest to the other, but all cockiness seemed to vanish into the tundra breeze each time they considered jumping off the edge.The seemingly shrinking size of the nest that was shared by three siblings, as well as the sudden uncaring, neglectful attitude of the parents, was their only motivation. Finally, the largest bird spread her wings and leapt into the air. She glided for awhile and then decided to turn around. The bird in her first flight was anything but graceful and the quick turn found her losing speed and altitude. She hurriedly and clumsily attempted to land on the first jutting rock that she saw. She failed, but seemed to have a desire to avoid turning again. She chose another landing pad – this time successfully.By the time Matt had trudged back to his Jeep for the evening, all three of the young birds had left their secure nest. Matt knew that in a few days they would figure out the basics, accompanying their parents as they taught them how to hunt for food.In a couple of weeks, Matt was able to track the birds’ progress. It was important that the birds learn to hunt before winter.Following the young bird who was the first to take flight, Matt discovered that she became a skilled hunter. Like human hunters, the abilities of raptors vary from individual to individual. Some are rather dull when it comes to hunting, while others are extremely talented. While these skilled hunters have an advantage over others in the wild, their talents are most pronounced when in the hands of skillful falconers.Over the weeks, the hawks drifted farther apart. Matt lost sight of the youngsters. The days got colder. Soon, Matt knew it would be too cold for the hawks to find food. The raptors had to head south. In time, the advancing winter storms would force them to the Colorado plains, where the days are warm and food is available year-round. The Rough-legged Hawks do not fly south or to Central America like most hawks. They prefer cold and snow, which they are well equipped to handle.The Rough-legged Hawk can be seen in the Falcon area regularly during the winter months. Look for them perched on telephone lines. They have a light appearance. The male is speckled on the belly and breast with black, and the female has a strong black band crossing her belly. In flight, the wings and tail are mostly white, though the wing has a dark black patch at the “wrist,” and the tail has a black band across the tip. The Red-tailed Hawk, in contrast to the Rough-legged Hawk, is dark.Maybe somewhere in Falcon, you’ll run into Matt’s former companions.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Search Businesses

Search Businesses