Griffith Park Raptor Survey

In January of this year, Courtney McCammon contacted SFVAS to see if our chapter wanted to partner with Friends of Griffith Park in their 3rd season of monitoring raptor nests. Courtney partners with Dan Cooper and their data is shared with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We were excited to learn about this program and contacted the board to gather up a team that could attend the required training session in February. Alexander Debarros, Kathy Barton and her husband Dave, Marianne and Richard Davis and our president Paula Orlovich attended the training and were given nest assignments.

Marianne, Richard and Paula were assigned a nest in the South Reserve of the Sepulveda Basin. The initial visit to the site was interesting because although our observers were given the coordinates for the nest, they noted that a second nest in the area was much larger and could possibly prove to be the nest that the Red-tailed Hawks would use this season. Courtney joined Paula, Marianne and Richard on subsequent observations. It became clear that the hawks had not chosen a nest but seemed to be perching closer and more frequently to the second nest site. Over the weeks SFVAS observed — and Richard photographed from a distance – the hawks were seen to be mating (eyes were appropriately averted). The female was perching nearest the nest. Finally, on March 23, the female hawk was on the nest with the male flying in with food. SFVAS will continue observations in hopes that there will be chicks. Of course, we are keeping our distance because although the hawks are in an urban area, they are aware of our presence and care must be taken not to disrupt their behavior. The gestation period for the eggs is about 35 days. Stay tuned — SFVAS will keep you posted. We are your eyes and ears, and it is important to evaluate how raptors succeed in procreating in the wildlife habitat we are helping to preserve for them..