Saturday, July 4, 2009

All for one, and one for FEHA (pronounced 'FEE-HAW')

This goofy little line is something my Herbert/Morse crew came up with... well truth be told it was Randy alone who came up with it. As corny as it sounds it has stayed with us over the last year as we work toward a better understanding of Ferruginous Hawk population trends in Saskatchewan.

Whenever we need a little boost, for example finding a hawk nest blown out of a tree with dead chicks on the ground, or climbing a tree that is kind of dangerous, or drilling a hole in rock hard clay to install a FEHA nesting platform, one of us calls out "All for one, and one for FEHA!".

As we travel around Saskatchewan and meet landowners and teach them about the ecological and economic value of having these hawks around, I hope that we are slowly but surely increasing the number of folks who are 'for FEHA'.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the landowners who allow us to access their land and study these beautiful hawks. Without you this project would not be possible! Whether its simply allowing us on your land, or you showing us where the hawks are, or just coming out to see the hawks with us, we appreciate your kindness every step of the way.

I am always amazed at the generosity and warmth that comes from every person we meet from across our province. There seems to be a genuine interest and desire to look after these hawks and make sure they are here in the future. I think conserving these hawks is important not only because of the benefits they bring to landowners through their proficient gopher consumption, but also just because they are such a brilliant part of the prairie ecosystem. There is not a more breath-taking sight then an adult Ferruginous Hawk flying over at sunset, calling to the vast expanse of native prairie below. Unfortunately this is a decreasingly common sight in Saskatchewan as more native prairie is lost under the cultivator. We have to travel to the small pockets of native prairie pastures in Saskatchewan to experience this now.

Once again, I'd just like to say thanks to all the landowners and friends who aided us this summer!! We couldn't have done it without you! Thanks for taking care of these hawks!