19 June 2015

Beautiful Hawks Raise Young Among Urban Carthage

An appreciated duo of beautiful Red-tailed Hawks living amidst the completely urban scape of Carthage, successfully raised two young this year.

Images courtesy of Greg Green, Omaha Public Works.

The fledglings have left the nest place and have been seen perched in nearby and elsewhere during these mid-days of June. Pesky robins and grackles loudly voice a discordant perspective on the presence of a raptor family in the neighborhood. The hawks are pretty much oblivious to the complaints of the songbirds.

Noted events for these special urban hawks include the first date when they brought twigs to initiate a nest nearly atop a pine tree just north of Izard Street, by the 48th avenue. That date was February 27, 2015. A bit later, the two could be seen perched upon snags of a couple nearby dead trees, keeping a close look upon the place of their future. The tree place was decidedly suitable, as mating activity was observed on March 10th and 14th. The dynamic duo were then homebound as nest cares were necessary, with their breeding legacy focused on a couple of eggs. As parents they gave great care while listening to loud vehicular traffic, emergency vehicle sirens, the early-morning discord of trash haulers and a complete myriad of disphonic sounds. Thankfully no one within the ethnic mix choose to thwart the pair!

The hawks were above it all. During snow, cold and winds, they endured. Early on some mornings, with one of the pair attentive in a tree nearby the nest, their presence was something any bird-watcher could appreciate ... once and again and more times. Some birds in Omaha have press agents, but for the Carthage hawks, they had a watcher, or two, perhaps more, with sufficient attentive interest, and that was enough to know.

Young growing were a glorious sight on some known days in mid-May while crouched or standing at flattened nest, flapping their new wings as appropriate and anticipating a flighty departure. They would soon go away into a new, larger world.

On June 8th, both young had definitely left the nest. A couple of adjacent snag trees had branches where the family could perch. When seen one evening during this time in June, the young looked great as they preened their feathers. On the 15th, one well seen youngster was looking about the hood, while perched atop a house's roof, only a short distance from their now forgotten home of twigs. A fledgling was seen within a block or two of the nest site on the 18th. Both were seen within a half block early on the morning of the 19th. One on a roof and the other perched among the leafy branches of a tree.

It was an undeniably good year for these hawks. They selected a suitable site for a fine nest atop an apartment lot pine. There were no disruptive activities to chase them away. Ample food of various types was available around their foraging range within the city of Omaha. And the young are now grown enough to thrive to continue the hawk's way.

It has been so special to have an opportunity to appreciate and observe hawks dwelling within the neighborhood! Even when they were not seen, just knowing of their presence enough of a because of the vivid reality of a pair of hawks nesting within the block.

Hawks soaring above the streets. One day one of them was seen eating a grackle atop a utility pole on north 49th Street. Conversations here and there have conveyed a appreciation of the mighty birds. How they continue to be a part of the bird life in the area is their choice? They have certainly been a highlight for many past weeks. To be able to see a hawk nest from a home window is certainly something to appreciate, especially while within an urban jungle!