Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hawk Spotting in Belltown

You never know who you'll see lounging around the funkier parts of Seattle, fashionably dressed in all-natural materials with VID (Visual IDentification) bands on their legs.

Lately, a Cooper's Hawk has visiting a patio at the Centennial Court, probably looking for a little feathered lunch. When I mentioned this to our friend Jeanelle, she pointed us to a Jack Bettesworth, with the Washington Ornithological Society and he put us on to is a citizens science initiative to study how hawks adapt to city living. WOW - what fun!
If you see a hawk:
  • Take a quick photo! A cellphone camera isn't great, but it's something, and it records date & time for you.
  • Try to note which leg has the blue band. Right leg blue = boys, left leg blue = girls
  • If you have REALLY good eyesight (or preverably, binoculars or a spotting schope) get the number on the leg band, e.g. "3 Q". This consists on a number about a letter. Each is repeated 3 times around the band so improve the change you can see one
  • Email it with address, date & time to Jack Bettesworth at jgbett@comcast.net
Technical details from http://www.wos.org/SpecRpts.htm:
Winter site fidelity study
  • Cooper's Hawks: Blue VID bands (Note right or left leg and engraved number and letter on VID band)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawks: either one or two color (only) bands on the same leg (Note right or left leg and top/bottom color if two bands)
  • Other leg has standard aluminum band
  • Note date, time and location
  • Report to Jack Bettesworth, 206-285-5276, jgbett@comcast.net

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