ROTM: Follow Dark Arrow

Dr. Gabe Vargo Raptors on the Move is sponsored by St. Petersburg Audubon Society in collaboration with the Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI). For information on this program, how to bring it into your classroom, or to receive regular updates on the birds' progress, click here.

Dark Arrow in Flight - Clayton

Dark Arrow in Flight - Joanna Clayton

ROTM: Following Dark Arrow



05.21.18 Update from JoAnna: I spent some time this morning at Sawgrass Lake Park. I was able to view and photograph one chick on the cup edge of nest. Fortunate that the leaves and small branches around the nest are very wet and drooping, thus giving me a better view of the nest. Both parents present. The female is at nest, making short forages out. Dark Arrow was diligently hunting and defending area. I observed the bird for approx 1-1/2 hours as rain trapped me on the tower. A good thing, as I saw some cool behaviors.

Interesting to see was Dark Arrow apparently giving his mate the food, and she brought to the chick on nest. She was waiting one tree to the east of the nest for him, giving some short calls. Chick was calling incessantly. He must of been very hungry. Once the food was brought in, chick disappeared into nest, with female on edge of nest guarding. It seems to be about the same size as the parent.

Dark Arrow had to "move" the two fledged Baldies away twice.

What a wonderful parent!

From Gina Kent re the chick's age: The chick's body looks so developed, but the head so young. I would guess around 4 weeks or a little less.

STHA 5-21-18 01
STHA 5-21-18 03

05.05.18 Dark Arrow is doing his thing and hanging around home. The last couple of weeks data indicates that he's mostly at home, most likely guarding the nest, mom, and hopefully kids. I see an excursion out into the nearby area occasionally which suggests he's out foraging for food.

So far its been a quiet spring for our birds. Lets hope it stays that way.

03.28.18 JoAnna Clayton has confirmed that Dark Arrow and his mate are incubating eggs! He will be making foraging flights but won't stray too far from the nest area.

03.20.18 Dark Arrow may have started nesting but he was a bit further afield than the nest as of yesterday. He was in a subdivision south of 83th Ave. N and along Apalachee Circle N. If you follow his track for the day he left the nest area in the morning, went out to the mangrove area along the bay shore, then worked his way back through the subdivision. I assume he was looking for food as JoAnna is pretty sure that they have started nesting.

Dark Arrow 03-21-18

03.11.2018 Family time. Dark Arrow is becoming a stay at home Dad! As you saw from JoAnna's summary, he is busy nest building. The location on the attached photo is probably very close to his actual nest tree. He has made some excursions out of Sawgrass Lake Park but they have been primarily to the southwest. Not sure when nesting will start but we'll let you know.

Dark Arrow 3-11-2018

03.2018 Update from Joanna Clayton, SPAS Sawgrass Lake Park Bird Surveyor

February was a great month at Sawgrass Lake Park to see Dark Arrow our tagged Short-tailed Hawk and his mate, up close and in action. The pair began nest building and could be seen collecting nesting material on the west side of the Education Center at the park. It is a real treat to see them close up. Word got out quickly among local birders, and many came to see them. I was very lucky myself to see one grab a Warbler from mid-air. Folks, this is a one fast Hawk.

Not to worry if you missed this rare treat. The best times to see them is from 9AM thru 2PM. You can still see them working on their nest, just walk out to Observation Tower and look due south. The area they nest is in the restricted area of the park. Have some patience, and you might just get to see them flying in and out of the nest area, defending their area from resident Red-Shouldered Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, and returning Swallow-tailed Kites.

See you out there!

JoAnna Clayton

03 2018 Dark Arrow Update - Nest Building

Photos courtesy of Joanna Clayton, Sue Tavaglion and Randy Harrod - thanks!

01.06.18 Dark Arrow seems to have a problem with his transmitter. The battery levels are low and he has not been sending data regularly since Dec. 17, 2017. When we do get a signal, its only one or two data points suggesting there is not enough battery power to send the stored data. I was quite worried for a few weeks because the last data point we had gave a location in the middle of a parking lot near Koger Blvd. However the data points from today (see second close up photo for DA) show that he is in the middle of a densely wooded area on Weedon Island - hopefully a safe place with available food. We're hoping that whatever is causing the lack of battery charge will correct itself asap!

Dark Arrow 1-6-18
Dark Arrow 1-6-18

12.15.17 No new data since Nov. 27. The attached photo gives his location on that date. He appears to have been on the golf course north of 62th Ave. N. Did he leave? Find a better place? Just have to wait and see.

10.24.2017 Dark Arrow is still flying around the Sawgrass Lake area going east to the shore of Tampa Bay and west to mid-Pinellas. He seems to have spent the night of Oct. 17 an the shore of Tampa Bay. I've marked his last location for that date but the previous three GPS points from earlier that day are just south of the night roosting spot.

Dark Arrow  10-17-2017 01
Dark Arrow  10-17-2017 02

10.6.17 Dark Arrow is still chugging along. He weathered the storm and was active almost immediately afterward. Here's a couple of shots to show where he is as of Oct. 3. He's still staying in the area.

Dark Arrow 10-2017 A
Dark Arrow 10-2107 B

8.28.17 Dark Arrow is still within his territory of Sawgrass Lake Park. The two data points over Tampa Bay just north of Gandy Blvd are from yesterday. He stopped in the fringe of mangroves right at the edge of Tampa Bay and most likely roosted for the night. Hopefully the mosquitoes weren't too bad.

Dark Arrow 8.28.17

8.12.17 Dark Arrow is still hanging around Sawgrass Lake Park; just jumping out to the east and west occasionally. Otherwise he is doing what a short-tailed hawk is supposed to do - hang around home.

Dark Arrow 8.12.17

A map of Dark Arrow's movements during its first week after release shows that it is staying pretty close to Sawgrass Lake Park with a few excursions out to the shoreline of Tampa Bay.

Dark Arrow Movements Week One