Across the parking lot from my school lies a creek and walking path. The path is lined with towering Eucalyptus, whose eerie creaking sounds continually bring surprise and confusion among the students during outdoor activities.
In one of the most magnificent trees, a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks have been nesting for several years. Last spring, myself and a few other resident bird nuts at school followed the raptor pair and their young until fledging with a great, simple joy.
Recently, we have been speculating on the return of this faithful pair and another round of young.
Tuesday I arrived at work and immediately spied a group of birders with monstrous lenses trained upon the nesting tree.
"Aha," I cried, "the hawks are back!"
I sprint-walked towards the group and expected the confirmation of my thoughts.
"A Great Horned is squattin'," replied one of the birders.
Great Horned Owls do not make their own nests and are one of the earliest nesting birds, beginning as early as January. This combination allows them to take advantage of the "abandoned" nests previously used by birds that have yet to migrate back for nesting season.
Two owlets have been seen in the nest, with one appearing stronger and fiestier than the other.
How did this development impact the hawks? Well, they have traveled 50 feet down the path and have been building a new nest.
The spring shall be an exciting one along Las Gallinas Creek.