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Riding with Red-tails

From Sea-Tac Airport to the Skagit Valley
© BellAir Charters View Large

Traveling home after a flight into Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport, you might share a ride on the shuttle with a Red-tailed Hawk! To protect passengers, planes, and birds, airport biologists Steve Osmek and Bud Anderson capture raptors for relocation away from the airport. Then, as a public service, Bellair Charters of Bellingham, Washington, carries the birds to safer foraging grounds. After weighing, measuring, banding, and tagging the hawks, Bud (pictured here with a Red-tailed Hawk) releases them in the wide-open country of the Skagit Valley.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®  
Riding with Red-tail, Featuring Bud Anderson 
Written by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.

[Sound of jet airliners at Sea-Tac airport]

Traveling home after a flight into Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport, you might share a ride on the shuttle with a Red-tailed Hawk! [Scream of a Red-tailed Hawk] That’s because, to protect passengers, planes, and birds, airport biologists Steve Osmek and Bud Anderson capture raptors and relocate them away from the airport.

In 2013, the biologists moved 86 hawks and falcons, including 23 Red-tails and 41 Cooper’s Hawks. [Call of Cooper’s Hawk] Every time the biologists catch a bird, they move it far enough away that it won’t come back. But with Seattle’s famous traffic, especially during rush hour, each journey can take four to six hours. That’s a lot of driving, particularly when you catch three or four hawks a week.
That’s where Bellair Charters of Bellingham, Washington, comes in. [Sound of bus starting up] The airporter carries the hawks – at no charge -- secure in covered animal carriers, north to safer foraging grounds near Bud’s home in the Skagit Valley. [Scream of a Red-tailed Hawk]

After weighing, measuring, banding, and wing-tagging the hawks, Bud releases them in wide-open country.
“It’s a flat farmland area. It’s loaded with voles. It’s loaded with shorebirds, with starlings, with ducks. And so it supports a high number of hawks. …Also there aren’t too many people and certainly no low-flying jets, so they’re much safer… We take ‘em to what we call a better restaurant.”

You can learn more about Bud Anderson’s decades of work with raptors at BirdNote.org. [Scream of Red-tail Hawk]

###

Sounds of Red-tailed Hawk [51214] provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, recorded by L.J. Peyton.  Call of Cooper’s Hawk [140257] G. Vyn.
European Starlings ambient from Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Airport ambient recorded by J. Kessler
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org     February 2014/2018   Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# airport-04-2014-02-18       airport-04        Marantz II Track 236

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