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Hawk Platforms Help Provide Gopher Control
Old utility poles fitted with nesting platforms attract hawks and reduce the gopher population. Each breeding pair can be credited with removing up to 500 gophers per season.
  “The ferruginous hawk is considered an endangered species in Alberta,” says Brandy Downey, senior species-at-risk biologist, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Department (SRD). “The nesting sites help the hawks, and they help the ranchers who put them up.”
  Downey works with ranchers and other landowners interested in establishing nesting sites on their property.
  Once a location has been found, the SRD works with utility companies to install poles. A triangular or rectangular framework is fixed to the pole 10 to 12 ft. above ground. A steel mesh or wire lattice is fastened to the framework to provide a nesting platform.
  Downey says the design seems to be working. Four nesting pairs established themselves on the 6 poles she helped set up this year.
  Locations are picked on prairie land with healthy gopher populations. The 18 to 20-ft. poles are placed at least 800 yards from cliffs, trees and other artificial nesting platforms. A good site avoids roads, power lines, oil/gas developments and farmyards.
  Downey encourages ranchers and landowners with ground squirrel problems to contact her. Information is also available on websites of cooperating organizations.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brandy Downey, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, 2nd Floor, YPM Building, 530 8th St. S., Lethbridge, Alta., Canada T1J 2J8 (ph 403 381-5526; brandy.downey@gov.ab.ca; www.multisar.ca).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #5