The hawks are back and active for the 2016 season!

If you live near a nest that we installed a camera next to and would like to view some of the photos, please request them from Justin White at justinwhite@unr.edu.

 

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In 2015: 24 nest cameras were installed,  +30 nest observation periods were attended by local residents, ~70 total Red-tailed Hawk nests were documented in Reno and Sparks,  5 eggs were laid by one female making it the largest clutch, and prey items spanning birds, reptiles, and mammals were identified.

 

A special thanks to Kelsey Fitzgerald of the Truckee River Guide for her publication regarding our research in the Reno News and Review. Click image below for full story.cover-1

 

NOTE:  Photos were submitted to our project of a Red-tailed Hawk with Long-billed Hawk Syndrome in June of 2015. If you have seen a hawk with an abnormally long bill, please let us know.

 

Project Background

Greetings, my name is Justin White, and I am a  researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The cities of Reno and Sparks are fantastic places to see hawks. Some of the hawks that we see in Nevada return each spring from winter migrations to breed  in our cities. These hawks are important indicators of ecosystem health and provide humans with ecosystem services, such as limiting the spread of diseases potentially carried in small rodents (plague, hantavirus, and others). After talking with residents of Reno and Sparks  around town, I discovered that many people have fascinating stories to tell about hawks near their homes. Have you ever wondered what hawks are doing when we see them in our neighborhoods or wondered how they have changed their lives to exist in urban areas? Well, I asked these questions and I am seeking the answers with a few researchers (Drs. Scott Bassett, Jeremy Smith, and Thomas Albright) from the University of Nevada, Reno.

We are conducting a few studies to understand how Red-tailed Hawks live the city life and how people develop relationships with them. More specifically, we are trying to record where they choose to put their nests and raise their young, and how their parenting and feeding differs relative to the urbanization level of their surrounding habitat. We also want to hear your opinion and stories about these birds.  All of our studies will be conducted without handling the birds.

Want to join us in April, May, and June of 2016? Here are a few ways that you can participate or contribute:

1) Join us in observing a nest and documenting what you see. We will provide sheets to record specific information and help you identify what your observations reveal about the hawks’ lives. However long or often you wish to record your observations will be beneficial.

2) If you know of a hawk’s nest in the Reno-Sparks area, let us know where it is by entering the location information in the Share Your Information tab at the top of this page. The list of all the nests will not be released for circulation and will be deleted after the project completion. If the nest is on your property we will not observe the nest even from a distance without your permission.

3) Take the survey and tell stories about your experiences with local hawks.

4) Come to one of our presentations. Periodically throughout the year we will host presentations that explain the context of what we are seeing the hawks do around town. The dates for these will be posted on this website and dispersed via email. To be included on email list please contact Justin White (see below).

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at justinwhite@unr.edu