Ferruginous Hawks Get a New Home

November 10, 2006 was a big day for at least one pair of Ferruginous Hawks on the Navajo Nation. These hawks received three new nest platforms to replace their natural nests that are continually destroyed by the wind. This pair has preferred nesting on PNM transmission towers that cross the Navajo Nation. But, they usually come back in the spring and find their old nest has fallen to the ground. We hope that these platforms provide a stable, long-lasting nesting opportunity for this Navajo Nation-listed Threatened bird (Group 3 of the Navajo Endangered Species List).



Ferruginous Hawk Nests on PNM Structures

In June 1996, an active Ferruginous Hawk nest was discovered on a Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) ‘H-frame’ transmission tower on Navajo Lands. This nest persisted, and was used by the hawks, until 2000 when it was blown down by wind. Then in 2001, the hawks were again found in a new nest on an adjacent tower. In 2002, they established a third nest in a similar location after the 2001 nest disappeared. There have now been at least five Ferruginous Hawk nests on these PNM towers since 1996. The 2006 nest was actually lost to the wind before the nestlings were old enough to fledge.

A solution was developed through a cooperative agreement between PNM and Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife (NNDFW). It was decided that the Morlan Nelson raptor nesting platform (APLIC. 1996. Suggested practices for Raptor Protection on Powerlines) should fit all the requirements of providing a large, stable, and wind-proof nest site. And it was decided that three platforms could be installed within our budgets. PNM agreed that two of the platforms could be installed on their towers, and one should be placed on a free-standing pole away from the transmission lines. PNM graciously agreed to donate the pole, crossarms, and hardware, and absorb the cost of installing these platforms! The Department agreed to purchase the materials for, and construct, the platforms.