Adam Baz is a bird biologist, photographer, and outdoorsman based in Portland, OR. His fieldwork studying bird populations takes him throughout the mountains of the west. The photo essay below takes us through a day on the job, trapping hawks on the slopes of Mt. Hood.
The morning commute. Our trapping station is located on the southern flanks of Mt. Hood in Oregon. The Cascade mountains form a north-south running ridge system that migratory raptors follow on their voyage to warmer wintering grounds.
The blind. Situated on the crest of a steep ridge line, we await oncoming raptors and lure them in with a complex set of pulleys, nets and lures.
Eyes to the sky.
Equipment inside the blind.
Non-native birds are used as live “lure birds” to attract raptors. Tethered to strings and pulleys, and protected by leather vests, we operate the lure birds like marionettes. Once the raptor is lured into the trapping station, they are entangled by a series of nets and spring loaded traps.
Extracting a Cooper’s Hawk.
Adult Sharp-Shinned Hawk, the Cooper’s Hawk’s little cousin.
Each bird is measured, weighed, and equipped with a metal leg band displaying a unique ID number. If recaptured or sighted elsewhere, this ID number can be tell us a lot about the annual movements of each species.
Scanning for raptors.
Life at camp. The trapping station is operated every day in September and October, the peak time for hawk migration.
Adult Red-Tailed Hawk.
The last rays of light over the western valley.