Urban Hawks

Thanks to Kate for this great image of both parent hawks and the nest on the fourth floor of the VISA building.

Those of you who don’t know me in any other context may not realize that I spend half my time in Austin, where I work as a Senior Instructional Experience Strategist (what??) at a software company. I like where I work, because there’s a lovely xeriscaped courtyard full of mostly native plants, nice areas to walk around, and big windows to look out of.

Recently, my boss and I noticed that a hawk, probably a Cooper’s hawk, kept flying around, swooping past the windows on the other side of the building, and disappearing. Now, we often see hawks around here (sometimes in the winter, it seems like every tall lightpost along the big highway has a hawk on it), so seeing it wasn’t a surprise. The repeated flight path was.

Here’s what I first saw. Hello!

Yesterday around 3 pm, a coworker and I decided to walk around the buildings to bring us some energy for a project we were working on. We stepped out of the building, and I said, “Look, Kate, there’s that hawk again.” Then I said, “LOOK, Kate!”

There, in the building next to ours, on top of some railings that look cool to an architect, was a big nest. That’s where the hawk was going! We quickly realized that the reason we saw a hawk so often was that there were two, AND babies.

We could not get any pictures of the babies with our phone cameras, but Kate got a good one showing both parents. We probably stood around for ten minutes, in awe of these urban hawks, making a home right in the middle of so many office buildings.

Here one parent looks on as one flies away (at left). That tail helps identify the Cooper’s hawk.

I guess we should not have been so surprised, since last year I was standing in the same spot where I saw the nest, and there was a tiny faun nestled in the landscaping material. I quickly moved on, so Mama Deer could relax.

PS: When I first moved to Austin, over 20 years ago, the land where our office is (183 and Oak Knoll, if you know the area) was mostly empty, with just a couple of large tech firms and a lot of green space. My kids and I loved to drive through the area while our house was under construction, because we’d see so many deer. There’s less space for them now, but they are still here!

Photo credit: top photo Katherine Nicholson; other photos SA Kendall

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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