I saw a red-shouldered hawk on campus. Are there more?

Dear Benny,
I am a new student at Penn, and during my first week walking around campus, and several times after, I noticed a red-shouldered hawk. I have seen it at the Biopond, near the Perelman Quadrangle, outside of Van Pelt Library, and even on one of the poles close to Wawa on 36th and Chestnut streets. It appears to be young, and it seems to live somewhere on campus. Raptors like hawks mate for life and there may be a nest somewhere with little hawklets. Would you know more about this hawk? We have many where I’m from in the Washington, D.C., area; I am so happy they are here as well.
—Bird’s-eye view

Dear Birdie,
Glad to hear you love our resident hawk as much as I do.

For quite a few years I’ve noticed a red-tailed hawk on campus near College Green, but recently I’ve spotted another near Hamilton Walk. They could be red-shouldered hawks—it is sometimes hard to tell when they are young.

Places like the meadows at Penn Park are helping to support the nesting of these great raptors, as well as the abundant supply of squirrels on campus.

Although I’m not sure where their nests are, they are permanent (though they do not attend classes).

University Landscape Architect Bob Lundgren says Penn has several research projects underway and some scheduled for upcoming seasons focused on confirming and counting what birds and other creatures are on campus.

Also, he says the University is monitoring its landscape management and maintenance practices to inform an environmentally sound program as it moves into the future.

Some of the groups Penn is working with include the U.S. Forest Service, the National Audubon Society, the Philadelphia Zoo, and the University’s Department of Earth & Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences, which is studying the campus’s tree canopy, plantings, and particularly migrating and resident birds.


Got a question for Benny? Send it via email to current@pobox.upenn.edu or via regular mail to the Current, 3901 Walnut St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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