2 days ago

Here is Charles, the male Great Horned Owl I study in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, eating a bird last night. He was being mobbed by several American Robins and took off making 2 sharp curving flights before I heard a strangled squeak and saw him flying with prey in his talons. The bird is most likely a robin and this is three videos stitched together. You can hear the continued robin warning calls as he eats the bird. Thank you and enjoy!

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4 days ago

Springfield Audubon Society

Audubon meeting May, 2018
“The Hawk of All Trades”, Jacques Nuzzo and Jane Seitzer, May 17, 2018
Jacques began the program with a brief review of the biology of the Red-tailed Hawk (RTH).
RTH are very, very common, and there isn’t any place that one can go and not find one. They are one of the most versatile of the raptors in the world, a hawk of all trades. RTHs are generalists, occupying a wide range of habitats and hunting a wide range of prey. They are an extremely powerful hunting bird, the daytime equivalent of the Great Horned Owl. RTHs prefer mixed country of open pasture or fields interspersed with woods, bluffs, or stream-side trees. They hunt and eat a tremendous variety of mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds, and they are even proficient at hunting and killing rattlesnakes.
RTHs are not dichromatic (males and females are not distinguishable by color patterns). Indeed, RTH are very frequently mis-identified, as there can be great color variation between individuals. No other hawk has so many color variations. Most have a belly band, dark crescents on the wings, and dark patagial marks. In addition, leucism – in which the bird has white patches distributed over the bird, sometimes being all-white – is not uncommon in RTHs.
The breeding season for RTHs is February through June. They practice a wonderful courtship sky dance, in which the male flies above the female, criss-crossing over her and screaming; occasionally they lock talons in mid-flight. These birds are monogamous unless they are separated by the death of one of the pair, and pairs cling to established nesting territories for years. Nests are usually in the crotch of a tree, sometimes on cliffs, sometimes on building ledges. One to five eggs are laid, with two to three eggs being most common. The young hatch in 28 – 30 days and the young fledge at 42 – 46 days. There is usually one brood per year.
Jacques then brought us up-to-date on Decatur’s downtown Red-tailed Hawks.
RTH’s are not uncommon in downtown Decatur. They feed heavily on pigeons, but will prey on any small animal that they can capture. In late winter, Jacques was downtown when he noticed a RTH carrying a stick. He watched as it landed on the Barnes Citizen’s building in Decatur, and was excited to see that a pair of the hawks was building a nest on the fire escape of this tallest building in downtown Decatur. It was a fortuitous circumstance that the WAND weather cam was mounted on the top of this very building, and Jacques was able to get the camera redirected to the nest.

It was fascinating watching the birds carry material to the nest, but it soon became evident that they were aware of, and did not like, being observed. Jacques backed off and did his best to keep disruption to the birds to a minimum.

Han, the male, was distinguishable by the presence of a belly band. Leia had a much fainter band, and, like all red-tailed hawks, she was larger than her mate.

WAND broadcast the story of Han and Leia and they developed quite a following.

The first egg was laid March 14. Unfortunately, no more eggs followed. The usual clutch for RTHs is 1-5 eggs, with 2 – 3 being the most common. Since RTHs employ a common avian strategy of producing more eggs/chicks than can typically be reared, to compensate for the high mortality rate of eggs/chicks, the fact that this pair laid only one egg was worrisome. It was the first of several red flags.

Leia soon began setting, but she was repeatedly scared away from her nest by various human disturbances. A work crew spent an entire day working on the top of her building, and she was flushed from her nest for seven hours. (During this time, Jacques was busy looking for documentation on how long these hawks might be off their nest with the eggs remaining viable, but there isn’t much information available on this subject). On April 9, a snowfall blanketed the area, but Leia sat tight. She was always a very attentive parent to her egg.

Han, on the other hand, didn’t seem nearly as experienced and as competent as Leia. It is typical for the female RTH to set on the nest all day long and for the male to come at the end of the day and give her a break. The male will usually set while the female goes off for a while. Han, however, was notorious for shirking his duty to his egg and mate. There were several occasions in which Han returned to the nest, Leia subsequently departed, but Han didn’t go set on the nest, either for a delayed period or not at all.

Despite the hopes of many, the egg didn’t hatch.

Will they return? Hopefully. Not surprisingly, a pair is more likely to return to a nesting site if the previous efforts were successful.

Jacques reports that it seems to be turning out to be a poor year for nesting Red-tailed hawks. He is watching several nests, and the number of successful nests, and the number of chicks in each nest, seems to be lower this year.

Jane then brought out Solo, one of Illinois raptor Center’s (IRC) resident RTHs. She is an absolutely gorgeous bird. Solo has been a long-time resident of IRC and she has laid eggs most springs. She has always laid these eggs on the floor – sometimes dropping them from where she was sitting on a perch – and has never shown any interest in her eggs. This year, Jane and Jacques were surprised when Solo began setting on her egg. Jacques made a nest for her in a basket lined with straw and pine needles, and she accepted the nest and continued setting on her unfertilized, non-viable egg. Jacques was hoping to have RTH eggs or chicks this spring for her to foster, but that has not been the case.

Jacques also reported on the Tate and Lyle peregrines (detailed in his March presentation). Unfortunately, the pair did not return to their previous nesting site at the plant. It is still possible that they are nesting somewhere else at the plant and haven’t been discovered yet. On a positive note, there is a nesting pair of peregrine falcons at the ADM plant nearby. A nest box is being used and the birds have hatched four chicks.

Jacques is making arrangements to place a peregrine nest cam nest year. He also hopes to place a camera at a bald eagle nest near Decatur; this would be the first Bald eagle nest cam in Illinois.

As always, Jacques Nuzzo and Jane Seitz gave a most interesting presentation to our organization.
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2 weeks ago

Springfield Audubon Society

Don't forget about our next program to be be held on Thursday, May 17th, at 6 pm. Jacques and Jane will be here from the Illinois Raptor Center (IRC) and will up-date us on the Decatur Red-tailed hawks, Leia and Han. They will have a live bird for us to see close-up as well.

Our program will begin at 6 p.m. at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary. There will be a request for a $5 donation in support of the Raptor Center.

These programs are really, really interesting and the public is encouraged to attend.
... See MoreSee Less

Dont forget about our next program to be be held on Thursday, May 17th, at 6 pm. Jacques and Jane will be here from the Illinois Raptor Center (IRC) and will up-date us on the Decatur Red-tailed hawks, Leia and Han.  They will have a live bird for us to see close-up as well.

 Our program will begin at 6 p.m. at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary. There will be a request for a $5 donation in support of the Raptor Center. 

These programs are really, really interesting and the public is encouraged to attend.Image attachmentImage attachment

3 weeks ago

Springfield Audubon Society

Our next program will be held on Thursday, May 17th, at 6 pm. Jacques and Jane will be here from the Illinois Raptor Center (IRC) and will up-date us on the Decatur Red-tailed hawks, Leia and Han.
The IRC has presented hundreds of programs to thousands of people over the years. Many consider the IRC the expert in conservation and environmental education presentations. Many permanently injured birds of prey live full time at the IRC. These birds serve the community as Wildlife Educational Ambassadors.
Jacques Nuzzo, Jane Seitz and these beautiful ambassadors travel across Illinois with lively, entertaining conservation and environmental programs. IRC also travels with bioartifacts (feathers, wings, skulls, feet, eggs, etc.) and real life stories to encourage youth (and adults) to get outside and enjoy nature.
Our program will begin at 6 p.m. at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary. There will be a request for a $5 donation in support of the Raptor Center. These programs are really, really interesting and the public is encouraged to attend.
... See MoreSee Less

Our next program will be held on Thursday, May 17th, at 6 pm. Jacques and Jane will be here from the Illinois Raptor Center (IRC) and will up-date us on the Decatur Red-tailed hawks, Leia and Han. 
 The IRC has presented hundreds of programs to thousands of people over the years. Many consider the IRC the expert in conservation and environmental education presentations. Many permanently injured birds of prey live full time at the IRC. These birds serve the community as Wildlife Educational Ambassadors.
 Jacques Nuzzo, Jane Seitz and these beautiful ambassadors travel across Illinois with lively, entertaining conservation and environmental programs. IRC also travels with bioartifacts (feathers, wings, skulls, feet, eggs, etc.) and real life stories to encourage youth (and adults) to get outside and enjoy nature.
 Our program will begin at 6 p.m. at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary. There will be a request for a $5 donation in support of the Raptor Center. These programs are really, really interesting and the public is encouraged to attend.Image attachmentImage attachment

3 weeks ago

Springfield Audubon Society

Our celebration of urban nature at the Adam's Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday was great fun. If you've never been to our sanctuary, come by and take a stroll. Spring migration is on and there are lots of fun birds to be seen! ... See MoreSee Less

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UPCOMING EVENTS

 
 
May 17th – 3rd Thursday Program: Illinois Raptor Center Presents:
Red-tailed Hawks
Jacques & Jane will update us
on the Decatur Red-tailed Hawks, Leia and Han, and share other entertaining stories to inspire and encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy Nature!
~ This program is open to the public ~
6:00 pm ~ Admission $5.00
 
 
 

Prairie State Conservation Coalition (PSCC) is a non-profit organization created to assist conservation land trusts, land owners, and communities in their efforts to protect land and water resources in Illinois. This Hike App was created with the support of PSCC, the Donnelley Foundation, and the Grand Victoria Foundation to further enhance public awareness and foster community interactions with Illinois natural areas and open lands. With this App, land trust organizations in Illinois now have an outlet to provide interactive tours of their project sites. These tours are guided by GPS and conveniently available on your mobile devices. The Hike App leads you through an interpretive hike in a natural area of your choosing. Limited hikes are currently available; more hikes are coming soon. This app features the history of Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as, detailed maps of the property.