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Hawk Calls NIEHS Home

By Eddy Ball
July 2010

The hawk posed in front of the NIEHS sign on the main  building
The hawk posed in front of the NIEHS sign on the main building on the afternoon of June 16. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The hawk close up
From the detail of this close up, it's easy to see why McCaw felt a bit talon-shy as he shot the photos. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

On a hot afternoon in mid-June, photographer Steve McCaw aimed his telephoto lens at a beautiful hawk that apparently is nesting next to the main building on the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, N.C. McCaw was acting on a tip from NIEHS employees James Huff and Frank Johnson.

Although more than 100 species of birds have been sighted on the 500-acre campus shared by NIEHS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, few command the respect of the hawk. In one shot, it appears the hawk is diverting attention from her nesting brood, and McCaw admitted afterwards, "I was hoping that she wouldn't use her talons on me" as he tried to get as close as possible.

Whether the hawk would have attacked, no one can say. One thing, however, is clear — the people who know about her are proud she's decided to call NIEHS home... at least until her aerie of chicks can fend for themselves.

A bystander told McCaw that the hawk might be diverting attention from her nearby nest of chicks.
A bystander told McCaw that the hawk might be diverting attention from her nearby nest of chicks. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)



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