Saturday, March 21, 2009

on the recent banding of the Sonoma County Common Black Hawk

A Common Black Hawk has been seasonally present in northern California for at least five years. This bird is only the second of its species ever documented in the state of California, but its remote location in the Laguna de Santa Rosa has allowed its relative secrecy despite being present for months at a time for several years. But where does the bird go when it leaves Sonoma County? Is it the same Common Black Hawk that was seen in the Stockton area a couple of winters back? The questions about the movements of this bird led to a stated desire by members of the California Bird Record Committee that the bird be banded to aid in its identification. This was done in February, 2009. A phai trap was baited with a live crayfish, the preferred food of this bird, and the black hawk flew down to grab the crayfish and was snared and then banded. The local property owners had several family members present and they seemed to greatly enjoy seeing this special bird up close and personal. The federal Bird Banding Laboratory subsequently revealed the exciting new that the Sonoma County Common Black Hawk was the first of its species to be banded since 1993 and the 35th overall in the entire history of the North American bird banding program! Most of the previously banded black hawks were nestlings, and only a few adults have ever been banded. It is unknown if any wild Common Black Hawks have been photographed in hand and so the accompanying photos are rare and reveal closeup details of the plumage, iris color and other features of the Common Black Hawk that have been seen rarely, if at all.

Stan Moore
Fairfax Raptor Research
P.O. Box 341
San Geronimo, CA 94963

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Stan, this is incredible, thanks for all the work you do. It was great to meet you (again) last winter out in two rock valley ford. I've beed watching this Black Hawk the last few years, Glad you were able to Band it.

    Larry Broderick. 707-975-7047