It looks big on the platform but the true scale of this nest was more apparent when it was being constructed on the ground.
This ferruginous hawk nesting platform was installed last month on a conservation site located in the Milk River Ridge. The Nature Conservancy of Canada and FortisAlberta teamed up on the project aimed at boosting the population of the endangered bird.
Ferruginous hawks are only one of two species of birds of prey that use grasslands (the other is the burrowing owl). Ground squirrels account for 90 per cent of the hawks’ diet. But their numbers have declined sharply, mainly because of loss of nesting habitat. They are very sensitive to human disturbance and prefer not to nest close to gravel roads, power lines, development, or farmland.
The nesting platform was donated by the Alberta Conservation Association, and the nest was built by local youths during the Southern Alberta Youth Range Days.
Ferruginous hawks nest across the Great Plains, but most of their Canadian range is in southern Alberta. They build their nests in low trees, on the ground, or on badlands cliffs like this hoodoo.