In my last post from three weeks ago (what can I say, summers are kinda slow for birding around here) I posted photos of a Swainson’s Hawk that had been banded and had a radio transmitter. Today I received an email from James Ray, a wildlife biologist with Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services at the Pantex Plant northeast of Amarillo and about 15-20 miles from the playa where the photos were taken.
From Mr. Ray:
“Yes, this is one of over 20 Pantex-area Swainson’s hawks that we have marked as part of a larger project that is evaluating the effects of wind energy on wildlife. Jimmy Walker is the perfect graduate student for the Swainson’s hawk work in that he is a Master Falconer. The pictured hawk was captured as an adult in our study area. Jimmy could tell you about the individual hawk if we could see its bands, and he might could just going by where you photographed it.
I can tell you that all 12 of the hawks that we tracked south last fall wintered in Argentina. Nine made it back to their nesting territories (one mortality and two unknown losses occurred; all from the Rio Grande River and north). This year we attached transmitters to an additional 12 more.”
They get around a lot more than I do.