Gardening column: Spring brings new lifetime in the type of two pink-shouldered hawks | Columnists

Easter, celebrated this calendar year on April 17, is affiliated with new existence. Above the past 12 months, I’ve appreciated seeing purple-shouldered hawks in my West Ashley neighborhood, specially two that hatched very last spring. New life carries on this spring with yet another brood in the exact nest.

The massive nest of twigs and branches is in a noticeable fork about 35 toes above the ground in a substantial purple oak. The top of the tree most likely broke off through Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The two most important upward branches that grew afterward are the excellent support for a significant nest.

I to start with observed the dad or mum hawks in May well past calendar year. By early June, the two youthful hawks, already additional than fifty percent as huge as the mom and dad, were sitting down outdoors the nest in the exact tree, then step by step expanded their vary tree by tree, property by lawn and street by street by way of mid-July (or that’s what it appeared like based on their loud cries).

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Purple-shouldered hawks are noisy with recurring cries of keer-ah, their territorial cry. In late June, the two young ended up calling to each other from reverse sides of my yard. A 7 days later on, just one of them ventured onto our again porch.

One particular young hawk was greater than the other, so it was either the to start with hatchling or the woman in a pair of feminine and male siblings. A single afternoon, like common siblings, 1 hawk chased the other as a result of our facet property simply because the leader was carrying food in its beak.

Because last summertime, I’ve heard or seen the hawks regularly in the community and in the property, whilst by this time I just cannot convey to moms and dads from offspring anymore. On Jan. 9 of this yr, four red-shouldered hawks circled over our street. It looked like a family members reunion.

Breeding season for red-shouldered hawks is claimed to be April to June. These hawks are monogamous and territorial about their nests. By early February I saw a hawk sitting down around the nest, and a hawk has been sitting down on the nest considering the fact that March 5.


A juvenile purple-shouldered hawk perched on a again porch swing. Amy Keinath/Supplied

Just previous weekend I observed a hawk, very likely the male, fly to the hawk on the nest, very likely the woman. They set their heads with each other, then the male left although the woman bent over the nest, possibly feeding new hatchlings. According to Audubon, the young depart the nest five to 7 months following hatching, so we’re on monitor for early June again.

I attained out to Clemson Extension Forestry and Wildlife Agent for the Lowcountry Parker Johnson ( for extra information about pink-shouldered hawks.

Buteo lineatus is a medium-sized raptor species with a sturdy physique and broad wings. This hawk species is known for its chestnut-coloured head, shoulders and breast that are noticeable when the fowl is perched. The wing and tail feathers have dark and gentle bands.

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The pink-shouldered hawk’s diet may differ relying on the area and time of year but generally incorporates smaller mammals these kinds of as chipmunks, squirrels, voles and other rodents. Frogs and toads are eaten when the hawk is around a overall body of h2o.

They have been recognized to consume crayfish, fish, snakes, modest birds, mice and huge insects. In the fall I uncovered the tail finish of a snake under a tall sweet gum in my lawn, so apparently a single of the hawks was having a meal in the tree.

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Due to the fact tiny rodents are a main section of the hawks’ diet regime, anticoagulant rodenticides, possibly as pellets or traps with the chemical inside of, can harm hawks and other raptors. Poisoned vermin may perhaps be eaten by a raptor, and, if numerous handled rodents are eaten, the active ingredient will accumulate in the raptor’s physique, ultimately influencing the hen.

Parker’s suggestions is, “Long story shorter, using your essential snap lure for rodents will be the ideal solution and most environmentally welcoming.”

Breeding habitats for crimson-shouldered hawks are generally deciduous and mixed wooded areas, most generally situated around drinking water. They like to nest in hardwoods but will nest in pines if necessary. In South Carolina, they remain all-around all period.

Crimson-shouldered hawks choose forests with an open subcanopy, that is, few little trees and shrubs, which can make looking easier. Generally, they perch on a tree at the edge of a forested stand to scan each the within of the forest and the open up region outdoors.

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Landowners who want to appeal to hawks can plant locally tailored, tall, deciduous trees, like oaks, maples and poplars or, better but, get benefit of tree seedlings by now expanding on their residence.

Householders can deliver habitats for crimson-shouldered hawks by maintaining their present huge trees healthy (little as a substitute for woods cleared for urban development.

A youthful hawk on the back porch. Mother nature has many surprises. 

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