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Ferruginous Hawk

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Ferruginous HawkHistoric records of egg collectors and naturalist explorers of the prairies affirm at least a 40% reduction in the Ferruginous Hawk's breeding distribution in Alberta. Today, a line through Waterton Lakes National Park to Calgary, Drumheller, through Hanna, Consort and Altario represents the northern edge of the hawks' range, with isolated pairs north of this edge.

The southeasterly contraction of the Ferruginous Hawk's range is confirmed by the reports from bird watchers and raptor banders in the province. For instance, in 1994, a fledgling not yet able to fly was recorded a few kilometers south of Stettler on Highway 56, indicating the presence of a successfully breeding pair in the area. Similarly, in the late 1980s, observations of nesting pairs of Ferruginous Hawks included one pair approximately 30 kilometres north-northeast of Hanna, two pairs west of Sullivan Lake (south of Castor) and one pair 15 kilometres east of Castor. The Rosebud Coulee, south-southwest of Drumheller, supported many Ferruginous Hawks in the past based on the banding results of Salt. During a thorough study of the Rosebud River Valley and tributaries in the 1980s however, two adults and many old nests were observed but no occupied nests were found. In 1988, observations were made of five abandoned but no occupied Ferruginous Hawk nests along a 20 kilometre stretch of the Red Deer River near Drumheller.

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 18 (1999), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

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