[Tweeters] RE: . Tagged Rough Legged Hawk (walt kochan)

Pat Britain patbrit at comcast.net
Sun Apr 23 06:54:00 PDT 2017

Walt, It's pretty exciting that you've seen the RLHA with the 0H wing tag! I
may have to drive down there and see if it's still around there. Back in
February, I saw a wing tagged RLHA (white tag on left wing: 5H) on a bush
in the same area that you described in your post. I had seen wing tagged
red-tails, but not a rough-leg. So I sent a picture to Bud Anderson and
asked him about it. He forwarded me the following email from Gary Searling,
who wing tags RTHAs and RLHAs at the Vancouver airport. Apparently, Gary had
received several inquiries about 5H and below is the response he was sending
to all of them.

Pat Britain, Bellingham

"Thank you for reporting your sighting of 5H. These sightings are very
important to the success of my tagging program. Fortunately (at least
fortunate for the purpose of identifying this bird) I have only 25 tagged
Rough-legged Hawks and only two whose tag begins with #5. But one of those
birds is now a two-year old male, which definitely is not the bird you saw.
So that leaves only 5H for the bird you saw and photographed. Many folks
send me photos of their sightings and I love to receive them. Some are
excellent quality, in fact prize-winners. But photos like yours, which may
not be of National Geographic caliber are so very valuable and often not
submitted much to the loss of information we can gain from them.

I tagged her as a juvenile bird at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
on 11 February 2017 and released it the next day in Chilliwack, BC as part
of a program to prevent raptors from being struck by aircraft. Yours is the
first sighting of this bird since it was translocated to Chilliwack. Let me
provide you with some information on the program so you understand a bit
more why we are doing this:

YVR began a program of trapping and removing Red-tailed Hawks and
Rough-legged Hawks in October 2010 in order to prevent them from being
struck by aircraft primarily to improve air safety, but also as a raptor
conservation tool. Each year the airport has a large number of transient
raptors that winter at YVR as well as resident adults and local-raised young
birds. Based on information from SeaTac International Airport in Washington,
we expect that adult residents are least likely to be involved in collisions
with aircraft, but a significant number of young birds and transient birds
are struck each year. Therefore, we are attempting to remove those birds
from the airport environs by capturing them and releasing them just beyond
Chilliwack where there is ample habitat and a reasonable likelihood that
they will not return to YVR. I view this not only as an air safety program,
but also as a raptor conservation program because, if successful, we may
prevent the deaths of a dozen or more birds each year. We expanded the
program in 2013 to all raptors (including owls). To date we have captured
and relocated over 600 birds. Most of them were relocated to Chilliwack. To
date there has been more than 5500 resightings of my tagged and banded
birds. While most of those sightings are of birds that have returned to YVR,
there have been over 300 sightings of 100 different birds away from Sea-Iona
Islands by over 150 observers who are not part of the YVR wildlife
management team.

33 American Kestrels

2 Bald Eagles (nestlings)

1 Barred Owl

283 Barn Owls (only a dozen or so have returned to YVR)

86 Cooper's Hawks

29 Great Horned Owls

4 Merlins

7 Northern Harriers (none have returned to YVR)

5 Peregrine Falcons

25 Rough-legged Hawks (5 have returned to YVR)

206 Red-tailed Hawks

16 Short Eared Owls (1 returned to YVR)

2 Snowy Owls (1 returned to YVR)

3 Sharp-shinned Hawks

2 Gyrfalcons

Raptors are one of the major strike risks at YVR and we believe that we are
mitigating that risk significantly through the capture and relocation of

It is through the sightings of many interested persons such as yourself that
we are able to collect the essential information on bird movements and
distribution and learn how well the measures we are using to manage wildlife
at the airport and elsewhere are working. We are in the process of
developing a new website. The first steps have been taken to allow you to
report your sightings online. Next steps will be to allow you to plot the
location of the bird sighted on a map and finally you will receive instant
feedback on the history of the bird you reported. I hope we can get the last
two aspects of the website working by summer. I will let you know when it is
up and working.

Thank you for your cooperation and your interest. Feel free to contact me
for more information or with any sighting information.



Gary F. Searing, M.Sc.

Wildlife Hazard Biologist

Airport Wildlife Management International

Executive Director

Bird Strike Committee Canada



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