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Beginning at 10:30 hrs on May 28th and departing at 12:30 hrs. with the temperature ranging between 80-90F with scattered cloud cover and no wind. The tower site was recorded from the east, south, and west views using a HD Cannon Video Camera from 21mm to 1365mm. The north side was not accessible due to private property and fencing. The ground area around the tower site was also recorded as much as possible to find any evidence of molted feathers to identify a species. No feathers were found. No prey species evidence was found on the ground around the tower site either.
The size of the nest indicated that we are looking at either a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) or a Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), although this is not a conventional nesting platform for either species. Swainson’s Hawks typically start nesting later than RT’s in this area, and will take over an abandoned RT nest. No raptors were visible in the air or perched during the entire two hours on the site. A good line of site for 270 degrees was available for at least 1/4 mile except to the north. The northern view was limited to about 100 yards. Close up video recording showed no evidence that this nest was active for at least a couple of weeks. We did have heavy rain about a week prior, which might have removed evidence to identify a species. An active nest site should have some evidence of whitewash (feces), and despite very closeup viewing no whitewash was found. Note “A” in the video shows what first appeared as whitewash from a distance, however upon close examination it is some sort of staining on the galvanized underside of one of the structural members.
Conclusion: The nest is not active and appears to be abandoned. An accurate species determination cannot be made.
Note: Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) will appropriate existing nests of Buteos. Although the GHO’s have completed their nest cycle for this year, this might make a good site to be appropriated for next year.