Every spring and summer, Red-shouldered Hawks make their presence known in the backyard. They soar over the cottonwood trees in the wetland just beyond the backyard and occasionally stop to perch on the trees in the backyard to see if there is anything worth eating in my yard.
They have been particularly noisy this spring soaring overhead, calling to each other with plaintive cries, and mating in full view in the cottonwoods in the wetland (far away and behind many sticks). So, this week while I have been walking out in the wetland photographing woodpeckers and wood ducks, I’ve been searching the tops of the trees for the Red-shouldered Hawk nest, and finally found it yesterday with the help of a neighbor.
Trekking through the muddy wetland and across to the other side, another neighbor told me that this was a new nest this year, and that their former nest in his yard had fallen down with a heavy snowfall this past winter. Eureka! — this might the pair that have been soaring and screeching over the wetlands in previous years.
One of the effects of this pandemic “stay home” restriction is that neighbors are outside socializing from driveway to driveway in the middle of the afternoon, and are happy to point out the wildlife they have seen in their backyard. And the neighbor in whose tree the hawks built their nest kindly opened his backyard gate and let me to photograph the nest.
The fact that one of the hawks was sitting down in the nest cup probably means there are some eggs there already, and I hope this pair successfully rears a couple of chicks so that I can return to photograph this spring and summer.