Swainson’s Hawk on Fence


The Swainson’s Hawks can be seen quite frequently on the fence posts across the road from us. The fence circles the 119 acre property – a mix of hay, shrub, and aspen forest that has seen only a few owners since the First Nations People called this land their home. For as long as I can remember, the land was leased to the man who ran a loam hauling business out of the grey shop in the middle of the field. He had the impression the owner would someday sell him the land, but when she died, the Estate had other ideas. The land was sold for close to three million dollars, well beyond the budget of the truck driver, or us for that matter.


Three million dollars is a lot of money for a hay field, even if it has moose and hawks and owls living in the woods. Three million dollars isn’t all that much money for a hay field that sits on the edge of a rapidly growing little city.

Last week a ‘For Sale’ sign appeared on the property again. The new owners had acquired a few more parcels of land next to the hay field, bringing the total up to 206 acres of land. The new price tag? Just shy of 30 million dollars. Now that is optimistic inflation!

The Feather Files
Name: Swainson’s Hawk
Species: Buteo swainsoni
Native to and Migration: In fall they fly to their Argentine wintering grounds in one of the longest migrations of any raptor. They form flocks of hundreds or thousands as they travel.
Date Seen: June, 2012
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

23 thoughts on “Swainson’s Hawk on Fence

  1. Oh what a terrible shame about the hay field! There is a similar field over 100 acres down the road from us too (and 7 miles from town), but the owners put it in a conservation easement. We are so relieved because of the beauty and the wildlife there. Progress can be ugly, but let’s hope it will be a long long time before the growing city encroaches on your peaceful bit of nature. A thought provoking story, wonderful photos, and Thanks for sharing.


    1. You are indeed fortunate! I expect development will proceed in a relatively timely manner once the property sells again, but I can hope that no one has deep enough pockets to purchase it for quite a while.


    1. Yes, the hawks and moose and fox will have to move on. The coyote, deer and magpies will find a way to fit in to the new environs. Such is nature.


  2. Hi,
    Beautiful photos of the hawk, I love their tan and white colouring.
    It is a shame about the hay field, but no doubt it won’t be long before it is totally gone, and the wildlife will have to keep moving further away, such a shame.


  3. You keep introducing me, through your photos, to a part of America I will probably never experience in any other form. Your photographs are beautiful, and I thank you for that. So sad about the hay field… I’ll bet there is actually someone out there who sees this as progress…


    1. Glad you enjoy your visits to my part of Canada. North America is such a huge place – most of us will never see more that a tiny bit of it, will we!


    1. An Osprey would be a wonderful neighbour, but we live too far from water to host one. How wonderful that you have a resident one!


  4. Seems like every rural community has a similar story. The pressures are enormous and relentless, and so’s the temptation: take the money, leave the fallout behind, “If I don’t take the money, somebody else will,” etc, etc. It’s a heartbreaker.

    Loved the Alan Watts quote. At least no one’s developing the stars. Yet. : (


    1. “Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” Alan Watts
      Fortunately mankind does not have a way of messing with the stars yet!


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