Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Rick Longworth sent some “working biologist” photos; his notes are indented.

My daughter Amelia is a veterinarian living in Boise, Idaho. One of her clients is a wildlife biologist studying ferruginous hawks.  He invited her and fiancé Ryan to spend a day helping with his field research work on the ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis). They helped to draw blood samples, looking for lead levels in these nestling hawks.  The ferruginous hawk is the largest Buteo and is similar to the closely related rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus):

Amelia with hawk

Three juveniles on the nest

Spent lead ammunition is a common source of lead exposure in hawks, condors and other wildlife that scavenge on carcasses and gut piles in the field, especially during and following the deer-hunting season.

Drawing blood

Drooling baby

The nearby World Center for Birds of Prey is home to the world’s largest flock of captive California Condors. Chicks are hatched and raised by their parents, then transferred to northern Arizona.  Ryan said, “We had such a great day making hawk “burritos” while helping local wildlife biologists band and draw blood from these cuties.”

Hawk burrito!

The juveniles are obtained simply by climbing a ladder up to the nest:

Ryan procuring the next patient

For anyone interested, Amelia mentioned there may be volunteer opportunities through the state agencies or local raptor nonprofit groups in your area.

Ryan, Amelia, and hawk

Finally, we need an ID. Reader Diana MacPherson sent a rather indistinct photo of a spider, taken by her friend, and wants to know what it is:

My friend posted this on her FB. She removed it (bravely as she’s scared of spiders as much of not more than I am) from her basement. I think it’s a wolf spider. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Do you think one of your readers or spider-adoring contacts would know? I’m just curious. I sent it to my dad & he said he saw a wasp sting one that big in his yard. It was a gruesome story where the wasp kept coming back to the paralyzed spider & it (the spider) was too big for the wasp to fly off with it, so it dragged it into one of my dad’s cactuses planted in a pot.


  1. Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Great photos! Wonderful sequence with daughter & hawks.

    Looks like a wolf spider to me.

  2. Stephen Barnard
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The World Center for Birds of Prey is worth a visit if you find yourself in Boise.

  3. darrelle
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Hawk burritos are adorable.

    It reminds me of doing exactly the same thing with my twins when they were 3 lb infants. And we called them burritos then too. My son appeared to love it. My daughter, not so much.

  4. Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The spider is related to the wolf spiders, but it looks more like one of the nursery web spiders known as fishing spiders(Dolomedes tenebrosus. The common name terminology is a bit confusing here.
    These spiders are big enough to put off off most people. They are called nursery web spiders for the way that females care for their young. They carry their egg sac under their body, and when the babies are hatching they build a webby nursery for them atop a plant. They are fishing spiders since they prefer to hang out near water, and are known to sometimes catch small fish.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Some suggested this could be a dock spider but she isn’t near any water and they don’t tend to wander into basements, do they? I’ve experienced wolf spiders doing that though. Wasn’t it you who once picked up a wolf spider and it bit you long and hard? I tell that story sometimes. 🙂

      • Posted June 22, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Dock spider is another name for these kinds of spiders. They can wander into basements, but so can wolf spiders. I go with it being this particular species of fishing spider since the markings and the posture of the legs are typical of them.
        It was a big wolf that bit me, yes.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I love the swaddled hawk!

  6. BJ
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Rick must be very proud of his daughter! A veterinarian helping to treat and save both domesticated and wild animals alike. Congrats, Rick!

    • Posted June 22, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      + 1

    • rickflick
      Posted June 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Thank you BJ. Yes, she makes us proud.

  7. George
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    On the subject of raptors, yesterday the local Chicago PBS station had a story on peregrine falcons. It featured Field Museum artist-in-residence Peggy Macnamara who illustrated a book on the near extinction and return of the peregrine.

  8. Kevin
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The last photo is funny of ‘Ryan, Amelia, and hawk’. Both humans look happy but the raptor is looking unsure about the near future. 🙂

  9. busterggi
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The hawk burrito is a little too soon after the Last Meal threaad for comfort.

  10. Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    “Nice work if you can get it”
    and thanks for the stories today.

  11. Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Excellent “working biologists” photos. Thanks.

  12. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 23, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Great pics Rick. What a fabulous experience for your daughter and her fiance! I too adore the hawk burritos! 🙂

    • rickflick
      Posted June 23, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I adore them too with a little guacamole and a dash of Dijon mustard. 😉

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 23, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        I find the feathers make swallowing difficult. 🙂

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