On our second Sunday bird walk at the El Dorado Nature Center last month, we spied a first year red-tailed hawk. Nothing usual until we noticed a band with the number 619 on its right leg. Erin Kellogg (thank you!) looked into it and forwarded the following information:
The USGS Bird Banding Lab reported back that this hawk (CA 619) was banded by the US Department of Agriculture as part of a project that bands raptors relocated from airports. The lead researcher has not gotten back to me yet, however…
…our friends at South Bay Wildlife rehabilitation are partners in this project!! In order to avoid bird strikes, the USDA has permits to trap and relocate raptors that patrol airport fields for the many tasty rodents and rabbits that live there as well. The birds are transported to SBWR where they are examined and cared for until transport can be arranged to somewhere far, far away, with the hopes that the bird will not return.
I contacted South Bay and sure enough, they knew this bird and gave me specific info on it! The juvenile, male, Red-tailed Hawk was captured from the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos on September 21st. South Bay received the bird that day. it was in good health, but a little bit on the thin side which is not atypical for first-year birds. he stayed in care, eating well, for 10 days and was then released in Angelus Oaks on October 1st. Angelus Oaks is in the San Bernardino National Forest, south of Big Bear-over 80 miles away!
Here is the amazing part. by October 9th, when the bird was spotted at EDNC, it had come back to within 3 miles away from its home territory! Also, just because it was spotted on the 9th, doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the area even earlier. Remember, this bird is not even a year old. This will be important information for the study, so great job guys! Birds are so cool!! I will let you know if we hear anything else.
Our next walk is scheduled for this Sunday (11/13) at 8 a.m.
Photo credits to Cindy Crawford.
The 619 is kind of hard to read, but there!