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Hawks (and eggs) causing stir at downtown library

This magnificent red-tailed hawk is one of a pair that is nesting at the downtown Huntsville library. (Contributed/Huntsville-Madison County Public Library)
This magnificent red-tailed hawk is one of a pair that is nesting at the downtown Huntsville library. (Contributed/Huntsville-Madison County Public Library)
The hawks guard their eggs in the nest in a large pine tree at the downtown library. (Contributed/Huntsville-Madison County Public Library)
The hawks guard their eggs in the nest in a large pine tree at the downtown library. (Contributed/Huntsville-Madison County Public Library)

HUNTSVILLE – Employees and visitors are ‘flocking’ to the downtown library to see a couple of new ‘patrons’ that are causing a lot of ‘flap’ … and their family is expanding.

A pair of red-tailed hawks chose to build a nest in a large pine tree for their home at the downtown Huntsville branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, 915 Monroe St.

“They’ve caused quite a stir among staff and patrons,” communications director Ann Marie Martin said. Visitors can view the nest through a window on the third floor in the Special Collections Department.

Library personnel also have set up a “HawkCam to offer 24-hour viewing of our feathered friends at hmcpl.org/hawkcam,” Martin said. “The image automatically updates every few seconds.”

In addition, the library staff and (human) patrons have photographed the hawks. To view these photos, visit Facebook/Downtown Huntsville Library.

“We’re ready to name our mama and papa red-tailed hawks,” Martin said. “We’ll name the chicks after they hatch.” Individuals can post suggestions at Facebook/Downtown Huntsville Library by adding a comment for the photo titled “Help us name our hawks.”

The red-tailed hawk is one of the most common hawks, living from Alaska to Mexico. The large birds have broad wingspans and are shaped almost like a football. They eat small rodents, other birds and reptiles.

Many hawks can be seen soaring above the Madison Boulevard corridor, especially near the open fields of the Intergraph Corporation campus.

To learn more about red-tailed hawks and tips on bird watching, Martin suggested visiting the library’s research guide at guides.hmcpl.org/libraryhawks. Individuals also can visit hmcpl.org to access two lists, “Birdwatching” and “Red-Tailed Hawks” in the library catalog.

For more information, call 256-532-2361, email to amartin@hmcpl.org or visit hmcpl.org.

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