Artemis

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.

A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) perched in a treetop (2009_10_23_033199)

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.

A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) looking at me (2009_10_31_036080)

She and her male companion are no strangers to love.

A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) perched on a branch (2010_01_24_049066)

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.

A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) perched on a low branch (2010_01_12_048378)

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.

A mated pair of red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus) at their new nest (2010_02_20_049858)

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.

8 thoughts on “Artemis”

  1. Very cool. I have had a pair of Shoulders attempt to nest in the small plot of woods behind my row of condos for the past couple years. The first year they were run off by crows and abandoned their attempt but last spring they persevered and fledged two chicks (a third died).

    It was great fun to watch the progress from defiant screaming parents to fluffy headed babies poking up from behind the rim of the nest to finally, one day, a quartet of hawks heading out over the horizon. You just reminded me to keep an eye out for them this year, as the nest is still present. I hope they return.

    1. What a cool memory, Nate. I admit there’s nothing in nature that doesn’t catch my eye, but the single greatest influence over me comes from raptors, especially hawks. I envy you the opportunity you had and hope I can witness something similar with this pair.

    1. I’m right there with you, Joy. I held my breath when I took that photo. Thankfully I know there are no eggs yet; they’re still building the nest and still mating (boy are they ever still mating, and when wants it she demands it quite vocally!). But soon they’ll settle in, so I’m being respectful and keeping the location secret so they’re not too disturbed.

      For as many years as I’ve watched this pair, I feel like a young child on Christmas morning with this kind of chance to finally see them nesting. Hopefully it’ll work out.

  2. Oh she is a beauty! Well named too Jason. It’s that dash of the poet in you that adds allure to your subjects. I mean just looking at her, how could she be anything other than an ‘Artemis’!!!

    Her colouring in that second shot is sublime, all tawny peach and russet. Well done my friend. You’ve done her proud.

    1. Thank you, Clive! I know most people think it a tad odd that I sometimes give names to wildlife, but I do it when I come to know them well enough and see them often enough that they become familiar to me. Then I try to find a name that fits the spirit of the individual, that matches the personality I recognize.

      And I’m terribly excited they’re nesting in a place where I might be able to observe them. How I’d love to capture the season in images and experiences!

    1. I’m with you, Amber. Assuming not too much trouble from crows and no storm damage to the nest and no major interruptions from onlookers (hence my secrecy on its now open location), I suspect they’ll do just fine (in the five or six years they’ve nested in these woods, they’ve never failed to produce at least one offspring, if not two).

      Oh, you can bet I’ll definitely monitor them and will post updates on their progress. Like Baket’s triplets last year who I watched closely until they migrated, I’d love to watch Artemis raise young where I can watch her–and I’d certainly want to share that experience!

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