Hawks nest in a South Austin front yard


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE


Posted on April 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- Quite a noisy pair of neighbors have moved in next to Billie and Ralph Korstad's South Austin home. But the couple doesn't mind.

Seems the pair of birds, believed to be Red Shouldered Hawks, are just protective parents. That's because they have a baby to feed.

"You can see her hunched over the nest, tearing a mouse to shreds, feeding the baby," Ralph Korstad said. "And the other is sitting there because mockingbirds, blue jays are trying to attack. So they've been kinda working in tandem."

"We didn't want to disturb the nest, or risk the wrath of this raptor, so we didn't get video of the baby," he said.

But Ralph has seen it.

"It was just poking it's head up when the parents were feeding it. It was just a fuzzy little white head," said Ralph.

A volunteer from the Austin Area Wildlife Rehabilitation says these hawks are typically vocal and that's usually a warning to stay away from their nest.

Federal law protects all hawks. It is illegal to harm them, or to own a feather, a claw or even a part of their nest.

"The male is smaller than the female which is interesting, she's beautiful," said Billie Korstad.

The Travis Audubon says these hawks leave the nest when they're about six-weeks-old. They will fly with their parents for another eight to ten weeks, however, about half will die in the first year.

People near nests are encouraged to keep their pets indoors when the young fledge so they don't hurt the hawks.

Kelly Conrad Bender with Texas Department of Wildlife says a front lawn is an unusual choice for this nest -- hawks usually nest in forested areas near water. However, there is a small creek that runs behind the Korstad's home.

Texas Parks and Wildlife encourages homeowners to create their own wildlife habitats with their Texas Wildscape Program.

"Congratulations to this homeowner for providing a more healthy habitat," Bender said.


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