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Pigeon Hawk Breeding in Utah

Col. L. R. Wolfe
Publication Information
2 (March-April)
From Field and Study

Pigeon Hawk Breeding in Utah.-Reference is made to Behle’s “Check-list of the Birds of Utah” (Condor, 46, 1944: 71) wherein the Western Pigeon Hawk is listed as a “rare transient and winter visitant.” In Davie’s “Nests and Eggs of North American Birds” (4th ed., 1889:188) the following appears under Pigeon Hawk (Fake columbarius): “Mr. Norris’ cabinet contains two sets of four eggs each; one collected in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah, May 29, 1868. They have a cinnamon ground color, heavily spotted and blotched with burnt umber; sizes, 1.56 x 1.25 ; 1.59 X 1.25 ; 1.56 x 1.21; 1.59 x 1.23. Another set from Bingham county, Idaho, taken May 13, 1885.” Norris in writing of his egg collection (The Oologist’s Record, 6, 1926:57) refers to the first set under the name of Falco columbarius bendirei: “c/4, Wasatch Mountains, Utah, May 29, 1868. Very deeply marked with dark brown so much so as to hide the ground color of two of the eggs.”

I have recently obtained this set of eggs from the collection of the late J. Parker Norris. It has been carefully examined and there is no question that the eggs have been properly identified as Falco columbarius. The original data record states: “Collected on the U.P.R.R. line in the Wasatch Mts., Utah, Camp No. 32, by L. E. Ricksecker, May 29, 1868. Quite fresh. Nest was an old one and had been placed on top of an old magpie nest, which was arched over. The upper nest, in which the hawk was breeding was probably built by some other bird during last season. It was 10 inches in diameter (inside) and was plastered with mud like a robins. Parent birds well seen and identified.-very noisy.” In the course of my own field work in Utah from 1925 to 1930, Pigeon Hawks were observed several times in May and June in the upper ravines of City Creek Canyon, near Brighton in Salt Lake County and in the Wasatch Mountains in Summit County. While I was never able to establish a definite nesting record, there is no doubt that the Pigeon Hawk is a rare summer resident in that area.- COL. L. R. WOLFE, Washington, D.C., December 28,1945. 

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