Conservancy field personnel are seeing a lot of Swainson’s Hawk activity already this year. On a Conservancy alfalfa field in the North Basin Reserve Area, we’ve photo’d a number of “dark morphs” (see photo of a single Swainson’s Hawk with this post). In this case, the dark morph photo’d is a female.
What is also interesting is that the raptors seemed to love perching on the alfalfa bales that were left in the field. In the second photo here, see three Swainson’s Hawks perched on bales of freshly-cut alfalfa as the look for a meal. The property in the photograph is a former rice field that the Conservancy has converted, in part, to alfalfa to specifically benefit the Swainson’s Hawk. Usually, rice soil types prevent alfalfa and most other crops from being grown on them. But with some experimentation, approximately one-half of this field could be successfully converted and is now directly supporting Swainson’s Hawk activity. We’re very pleased with the results.