Living Center Oregon

Sustainable Living Center Oregon

Truffles Hawks

hawkSince rodents love Truffles and Hawks love rodents.  We need Hawks!

Hawks are nature’s rodent control, and they are very good at their job. Everything about them is built to catch rodents on the ground. They have broad wings, heavy bodies, sharp talons and keen eyesight, all of which help them to locate, kill and carry their prey. Urban environments pose challenges for hawks in several ways, one of which is the fact that buildings get in the way, and they cannot see the ground from the air. To overcome this, hawks use perches to get a good view of an area, and sweep down on their prey from them.

The red-tailed hawk is one of the most widely scattered hawks in the Americas. Its preferred habitat is Oregon’s forests and fields, with high bluffs or trees that may be used as perch sites.

Adult hawks have few natural predators, although their eggs and chicks are preyed on by a variety of organisms. The red-tailed hawk is widespread in North America, partially due to historic settlement patterns, which have benefited it. The clearing of forests in the Northeast created hunting areas, while the preservation of woodlots left the species with viable nest sites.

The construction of highways with utility poles alongside treeless medians provided perfect habitat for perch-hunting. Unlike some other raptors, the red-tailed hawk are seemingly unfazed by considerable human activity and can nest and live in close proximity to large numbers of humans.

Active flight is slow and deliberate, with deep wing beats. In wind, it occasionally hovers on beating wings and remains stationary above the ground. When soaring or flapping its wings, it typically travels from 40 mph, but when diving may exceed 120 mph.

The red-tailed hawk is carnivorous, and an opportunistic feeder. Their most common prey are small mammals such as voles and rodents, but they will also consume birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Prey varies with regional and seasonal availability, but usually centers on rodents, comprising up to 85% of a hawk’s diet.

red-tailed-hawk-flying-with-foodThe red-tailed hawk commonly employs one of two hunting techniques. Often, they scan for prey activity from an elevated perch site, swooping down from the perch to seize the prey. They also watch for prey while flying, either capturing a bird in flight or pursuing prey on the ground until they can pin them down in their talons.  Red-tailed hawks, like some other raptors, have been observed to hunt in pairs. This may consist of stalking opposites sides of a tree, in order to surround a tree squirrel and almost inevitably drive the rodent to be captured by one after being flushed by the other hawk.

The great horned owl occupies a similar ecological niche nocturnally to the red-tail, taking similar prey. Competition may occur between the hawk and owl species during twilight, although the differing nesting season and activity times usually results in a lack of direct competition. Although the red-tail’s prey is on average larger due in part to the scarcity of diurnal squirrels in the owl’s diet the owl is an occasional predator of red-tailed hawks themselves, of any age, while the hawks are not known to predate adult great horned owls.

The red-tailed hawk is one of the most widely scattered hawks in the Americas. Its preferred habitat is mixed Oregon forest and field, with high bluffs or trees that may be used as perch sites. It occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes. It is second only to the peregrine falcon in the use of diverse habitats in North America.

Adult hawks have few natural predators, although their eggs and chicks are preyed on by a variety of organisms. The red-tailed hawk is widespread in North America, partially due to historic settlement patterns, which have benefited it. The clearing of forests in the Northeast created hunting areas, while the preservation of woodlots left the species with viable nest sites.

The construction of highways with utility poles alongside treeless medians provided perfect habitat for perch-hunting. Unlike some other raptors, the red-tailed hawk are seemingly unfazed by considerable human activity and can nest and live in close proximity to large numbers of humans.

Active flight is slow and deliberate, with deep wing beats. In wind, it occasionally hovers on beating wings and remains stationary above the ground. When soaring or flapping its wings, it typically travels from 40 mph, but when diving may exceed 120 mph.

The red-tailed hawk is carnivorous, and an opportunistic feeder. Their most common prey are small mammals such as voles and rodents, but they will also consume birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Prey varies with regional and seasonal availability, but usually centers on rodents, comprising up to 85% of a hawk’s diet. Most commonly reported prey types include mice, including both native Peromyscus species and house mice; gophers, voles, chipmunks, ground squirrels and tree squirrels.

The red-tailed hawk commonly employs one of two hunting techniques. Often, they scan for prey activity from an elevated perch site, swooping down from the perch to seize the prey. They also watch for prey while flying, either capturing a bird in flight or pursuing prey on the ground until they can pin them down in their talons.  Red-tailed hawks, like some other raptors, have been observed to hunt in pairs. This may consist of stalking opposites sides of a tree, in order to surround a tree squirrel and almost inevitably drive the rodent to be captured by one after being flushed by the other hawk.

great_horned_owl3The great horned owl occupies a similar ecological niche nocturnally to the red-tail, taking similar prey. Competition may occur between the hawk and owl species during twilight, although the differing nesting season and activity times usually results in a lack of direct competition. Although the red-tail’s prey is on average larger due in part to the scarcity of diurnal squirrels in the owl’s diet the owl is an occasional predator of red-tailed hawks themselves, of any age, while the hawks are not known to predate adult great horned owls.

How to Build a Hawk Perch for Rodent Control

  1. perch_1Choose an open area preferably in the center of the orchard, field, or garden, and dig a round hole 3 feet deep with a 6 inch diameter.
  2. Insert the 3/4-inch threaded sleeve halfway into one end of a 10-foot-long section of pipe. This end will be the one that faces up.
  3. Prepare about half the bag of ready-mix concrete according to the directions on the bag and set the container next to the hole.
  4. Place the 10-foot section of galvanized pipe with the threaded sleeve all the way into the hole with the threaded sleeve pointed up, using a level to make sure that it is straight. Pour the concrete around the bottom of the pole until level with the surface of the soil. Do this as soon as possible after mixing the concrete. Let the concrete set for a few hours to overnight, until you can’t wiggle the pipe.
  5. Put a wooden block onto a flat work surface. Round out the edges of the block with an electric hand saw and/or sander, then measure the block to find the exact center, and mark it clearly. The block will be the perch part of the structure.
  6. Place the floor flange with the center hole directly over the marked spot and screw it into place with the wood screws. Floor flanges are round and have four holes, so make sure that the screws are opposite each other.
  7. Dab weatherproof construction adhesive into the bottom of the floor flange. Insert the second 10-foot-long pipe into the hole in the floor flange, making sure that the pipe makes contact with the adhesive. Let the adhesive set overnight.
  8. Hold the pipe with the perch side up, and orient it so that the long side is running in an east-west direction. Attach it to the pipe in the ground by inserting it onto the other half of the threaded sleeve, making sure that it stays in that direction. This orientation helps minimize sun glare and wind damage.

Things You Will Need

  1. A 3/4-inch threaded sleeve
  2. Two (2)  galvanized steel pipes 10 feet long, 3/4 inches in diameter
  3. One bag ready-mix concrete
  4. One block of pine or redwood, 2 inches-by-2 inches-by-18 inches
  5. Electric hand saw and sander
  6. One floor flange 2 inches diameter with a 3/4-inch center hole
  7. Two (2) 1 1/2-inch wood screws
  8. Weatherproof construction adhesive

Tips

  • Painting the steel poles with outdoor paint will help prevent rusting.
  • Using power tools, such as a belt sander, table saw and power screwdriver will make it easier to round out and attach the perch.
  • For extra support, the two poles can be welded together or attached with construction adhesive.
  • Because concrete sets at different rates according to weather conditions, check the bag for more accurate information on rate of set.

Warnings

If anyone around is using rat poison, don’t put up a perch. Hawks can be killed by eating poisoned rats.

 

Oregon Coast Truffles Company

  • 541-996-3671
  • 82 Siletz Highway
  • Lincoln City, OR 97367

 

 

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This entry was posted on February 21, 2017 by .