01-14-14 RVRI Field Note

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01-14-14 RVRI Field Note

January 14, 2014

Raptor View Research's Field Note describes the capture of a Harlan's morph Red-tailed Hawk.

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We captured an adult female Harlan’s morph Red-tailed Hawk January 4th (hereafter referred to as Harlan’s Hawk). We used a Bal-Chatri (BC) trap baited with live mice to capture the hawk. BC traps consist of a hardware cloth cage festooned with monofilament nooses. Hawks entangle themselves in the nooses as they attempt to grab the mice.

Harlan’s Hawks exhibit unusual plumage and physical characteristics compared to other Redtailed Hawks. Consequently, taxonomists debated their classification. They were finally reclassified in 1973 as one of eight recognized sub-species of Red-tailed Hawks found in North America. The images below show some of the distinctive plumage characteristic of the Harlan’s Hawk.

We attached a satellite transmitter to the Harlan’s Hawk prior to release. The transmitter will reveal how far some Red-tailed Hawks travel to overwinter in the Bitterroot Valley. They breed in Alaska, Yukon and northern British Columbia, and overwinter in relatively low numbers across the American West and Montana.

Since release, the Harlan’s Hawk has stayed relatively near her capture location, though most of her locations are on the west side of the river. The red dots below denote GPS locations from January 4-7th. Her most interesting locations are to come, when she moves north towards a breeding territory far to the north.

Previous Field Note

1-10-14 Field Note