by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"To Venture Outdoors"    

Sharp-shinned Hawk

        Just a few miles from the heart of Dixie, there are treasures of many kinds.  It could be the uplifting design of mountains by geologic forces.  It could be the ever visible erosion of the earth’s surface from wind and water.  Maybe it’s the rare and endangered plants that grow here and nowhere else on earth, or maybe it’s the hot and dry Mojave Desert that beckons to all life . . . “come make your home here, if you dare”. . . and they do.   There is always some treasure you can store in your mind each and every time you venture outdoors.

        Our group had driven south and east, and then stopped just above the Arizona boarder where we began walking toward the Beehive Dome.  We were on a hike to see the Bear Poppy when we spotted two Sharp-shinned Hawks overhead, carrying nesting material back and forth to a cliff formation.  The Sharp-shinned Hawk constructs a stick nest, chooses a remote site and tries to be secretive about it, in order to stay clear of larger raptors such as the Cooper’s Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and the Northern Goshawk.  Well, they were carrying sticks and this was a pretty secretive and remote place for a nest.  What great flyers these Hawks were, and what anticipation to make a home for their offspring in this harsh desert terrain.  Sharp-shinned Hawks are year-round residents of Utah.  They eat mainly smaller birds, but also rodents, lizards, frogs, snakes, and insects.  The female is twice the weight of the male.  

        Brenda Rusnell is the artist.  This is a color pencil drawing.  If you have questions about birds or the upcoming Red Cliffs Audubon activities, call 435 673-0996.  Our meetings are always the second Wednesday of the month and our field trips are the following Saturday.  The public is welcome.  

        Remember to join us on our monthly field trips. Information on time and location can be found here. There is nothing more fun than a bunch of crazy Southern Utah birders seeking out local birds.  Don't forget your camera and binoculars!

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