She is the goddess of the hunt. She is the goddess of fertility and childbirth. She is the goddess of the forests and hills. She is Artemis. And she is known to me.
Like Baket the female Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) who lives and nests close by, Artemis, a female red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), has lived near my home for some time. She has raised children in the woods around Dixon Branch for at least the past five years.
She and her male companion are no strangers to love.
Though I have watched them for many years, they always have nested in dense woodlands that surround the Sunset Bay confluence at White Rock Lake, and more often than not their nest hid in the treetops of one of the many small islands that remain inaccessible to all but winged visitors.
Yet several weeks ago I sent a missive to a few friends letting them know both Artemis and her mate had expanded their territorial display to areas further south of their normal range. In addition, I had watched them investigating several large trees outside the woods that historically had cloaked their nest. I felt perhaps the two raptors might move into the open—relatively speaking—and that perhaps careful observers might have a chance to watch them nest and raise young.
Then yesterday under a sky dark with heavy clouds, I found it. As you can see, she was settled in the nest while her mate stood beside her. Both had just arrived with twigs to add to their nursery. And they did in fact choose a tree outside the near impenetrable forest.
They remain within their territory, yes, but they now offer me an opportunity which has never been offered before. All things being equal, the location and height of the nest indicate a distinct possibility to watch them rear young.