Nature Notes

Vol. VIII August 1, 1930 No. 9

Sparrow Hawks caught in the act!

Sparrow Hawk

During the past few days a pair of Sparrow Hawks have been making inspection trips about an old snag near the Community House in Paradise Valley.

My attention was first attracted to them one afternoon when they were putting on an exhibition of flight with all the modern stunts of a finished aviator--and then some.

Swinging far into the sky they would hover in one spot calling continually, "Killy! Killy! Killy!" in true Sparrow Hawk fashion. Suddenly one bird pitched forward with set wings, darting downward with great speed---then evened off to a level course to come to rest atop the snag.

To my astonishment the bird dissappeared and on looking closer I saw, near the top, a hole which had been an old Flicker's nesting place. Then, in an instant the bird came out again to dart to a nearby Alpine Fir.

Soon after both birds were observed flying back and forth from one Alpine Fir to another. The female bird, which is the larger and less brightly marked, soon dropped into the hole with what was at first thought to be a morsel of food in her talons, yet she reappeared shortly with the object in her beak and flew again to one of the nearby Alpine Firs. As I stepped out of sight, however, she soon came back and deposited the dry grass in the hole.

Then it dawned on me that we were going to have the pleasure of seeing these bright colored hawks take up their family responsibilities where they could be easily observed and shown to people on our Nature Hikes. The dead snag is perhaps thirty five feet high and only fifty or sixty feet from the corner of the building and the hole of the old Flicker's nest, where the Sparrow Hawks have set up their abode, is facing the door. Thus we have a fine opportunity of observing the nest making of these two hawks from the Community House.

- - Robert Hays, Ranger-Naturalist

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