Date: 12/31/17 5:40 pm
From: Susan Smith <seiurus...> [SanDiegoRegionBirding] <SanDiegoRegionBirding-noreply...>
Subject: Re: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] Harris's Hawk provenance

Of the 29 San Diego County records of Harris' Hawk (geez, why HASH and not HAHA, I wonder???I would like to make it HAHA), 22 have been accepted by the California Birds Records Committee. But always good to keep the question open. (Four of those records were classified as 'Natural Occurrence Questionable'). Thankfully we have the CBRC to make the ultimate decision about these issues after thoughtful consideration. Nancy, did you submit your 2012 sighting tho the CBRC? It is not recorded there. I recall two adults in Santee in winter of 1995, and this occurrence was accepted by the committee. As I mull this stuff over I am once again reminded of how lucky we are here in San Diego County to have foundation resources like Phil Unitt's San Diego County Bird Atlas and the California Bird Records Committee website to go to when these questions arise. It should be interesting to see how this develops. I know Harris's are a popular falconry bird, but then there is this history of multiple birds appearing naturally here in the county, but it is ultimately the CBRC after reviewing the submitted documentation, to make the decision.. so hoping you are writing this all up and submitting lots of pics... sue

Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: 'Nancy Christensen' <nancy.r.christensen...> [SanDiegoRegionBirding] <SanDiegoRegionBirding-noreply...>
To: sandiegoregionbirding <sandiegoregionbirding...>
Sent: Sun, Dec 31, 2017 2:25 pm
Subject: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] Harris's Hawk provenance

I wanted to speak up about the Harris’s Hawk being seen in Ramona. Logan Kahle had some interesting thoughts on the bird in his Ebird checklist: " A little bit of pedantic rambling about provenance: It was my impression based on the information at hand that this is likely a long-staying escapee, but am more than happy to reconsider. Showed no obvious feather wear. Additionally was relatively shy, becoming wary and eventually flushing when we got within 50 yards or so. According to the landowner where the hawk is roosting, the bird has been present for quite a while, and the apr 2016 record from the Ramona grasslands very likely (IMO) represents the same bird. So, considering all of the above one of three seemingly reasonable possibilities can be considered: 1) the bird is wild and has b een present for at least 18 months, and represenys the most westerly and most coastal wild harriss hawk to ever set up residence in the state (as distinguished from wintering) 2) the bird is an escapee and has set up residence in the area or 3) the bird is different from the ramona bird, is relatively recently-arrived, and could be either escaped or wild. My inclination is to believe #2 due to the age and pattern of sightings. "

This is my third Harris’s Hawk sighting in Ramona – the first being Oct 31, 2012. This was only 4 months after I began “birding” and I really didn’t have much knowledge about the relative rareness of any particular species. When I saw the Harris’s Hawk in 2012 (not too far from Rangeland Road – still on the perimeter of the grasslands) I knew it was unusual and marked rare on Ebird. However, the Ramona Sentinel had run a newspaper article about a nesting pair of Harris’s Hawks in Ramona. The specific location was kept secret for the stated purpose that the landowner was concerned that falconers might try to come and take the chicks. So I made the assumption that it was a bird with low numbers in the county, but nothing exceptional. I think around that time there were HaHa nesting in Jacumba as well.

That being said, if this current hawk is linked to that nesting pair in some manner, I think it needs to be regarded as a wild bird and not a long-term escapee. Logan’s comments about this would be the most coastal of residence is an eye-opener for me. I have writ ten a note to the person who was editor at the Ramona Sentinel at that time (I can only estimate 2010-2012, before I was birding) to see if there is some way I can search for the article so that a time line can be established. As far as I know, this paper has not been digitized, so I may have to go read old copies to get the info.

Nancy Christensen

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