Hawk chicks relocated from Sea-Tac nest

Two red-tailed hawk chicks are settling into their temporary new home tonight. They were pulled from a nest near Sea-Tac this morning. KING 5 Environmental Reporter Alison Morrow takes us to the tree-tops to show us why the birds had to go.

There are two distinct sounds in forested areas near Sea-Tac Airport: airplanes and hawks.

Since the two don't safely mix, the Port of Seattle relocates chicks from nests. Someone scales the tree, sometimes 70-feet high, to access the nest and place the chicks into a bag.

"The young are more a danger to aircraft because they're learning to fly. They're not familiar with the airfield," explained Port of Seattle wildlife biologist Mikki Viehoever.

This year, the Port of Seattle is moving chicks from two active hawk nests, both too close for comfort by Sea-Tac's runways. They'll head to Skagit County where Bud Anderson will be their new dad.

"There's a word called 'hacking.' You take the babies and raise them up," Anderson said. "They learn to fly...Eventually, after about five weeks, they learn to kill. After that, they're on their own, and off they go."

Armstrong's relocated 85 red-tailed hawks. None of them have returned to this area.

"Most bird strikes are with small species like swallows. They don't do any damage. Occasionally we get larger bird strikes," Viehoever said.

Viehoever says the unhappy parents will move on quickly. You might call them empty nesters who will likely try again next year.

© 2017 KING-TV


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