Skip to main content

A Swainson Hawk Diaster

J. A. Munro
2 (March-April)
From Field and Study
Online Text:

A Swainson Hawk Disaster

In 1933 a pair ,of Swainson Hawks (Buteo swainsoni) built a nest on the crossbars of a telephone pole beside the Interprovincial Highway not far from Piapot, Saskatchewan, a not unusual occurrence on the treeless prairie. When I drove past the site on June 10, 1933, and parked on the side of the road a short distance away, the female flew off the nest. She alighted on the ground, picked up a stick in her claws and flew with it to a nearby post. Soon afterward her mate appeared and soared, quite low down, over the nest.

During this time I had examined the nest and discovered that the body of a male Swainson Hawk, dead perhaps a week, formed part of its foundation. The wing of the bird can be seen in the accompanying photograph (fig. 20). The explanation seemed to be that the dead bird, the first of two males, had been shot on the nest, probably with a .22 calibre rifle, following a local custom. Afterwards the female found another mate and proceeded to raise the height of the nest so that the carcass of the first male Fig. 20. Nest of Swainson Hawk on was built into its foundation.

J. A. Munro

Okanugan Landing, B. C., Canada, August 20, 1934

Advanced Search