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SEAS Observes Nesting Hawks

By JESSICA E. STEIN, Contributing Writer

The Class of 2014 may have already received their housing assignments, but the hawks of Harvard are still ruffling their feathers.

A pair of hawks has made their nest atop the Maxwell-Dworkin Laboratory building, and a School of Engineering and Applied Sciences team has installed a surveillance system to observe the building’s newest residents.

Until recently, a hawk’s nest was lodged on a pine tree between the Pierce and Cruft buildings at SEAS, but during a storm this past winter the tree branch broke. Another nest was built on the third floor of the Maxwell-Dworkin building, though Rosalind Reid, Assistant Dean for External Programs and Executive Director of the Institute for Applied Computational Science, noted that they do not know with certainty that these are the same hawks.

Eliza Grinnell, Communications Project Manager for SEAS, estimates that the hawks had inhabited the tree for approximately three years.

Grinnell said that the idea to set up a camera originally came from Donald F. Claflin in the SEAS facilities office who “thought it might be nice to give people a more personal connection.” Claflin could not be reached for comment.

“I think people consider them the school mascot” said Grinnell. “It’s like a little piece of nature delivered to us.”

Over the years onlookers have seen hawks hunt in Harvard’s grounds. Grinnell noted an incident in the Harvard Law School quad when a hawk swooped down next to her and picked up a squirrel in its talons. The hawks’ new location has yielded new stories: the windowsill of Robert D. Howe, Professor of Engineering and Associate Dean for Academic Programs, which overlooks the hawks’ new home, has been the site of mating activity. Howe could not be reached for comment.

The camera was set up over the course of a day, said Grinnell.

Lesley Lam, Application Programmer and Analyst for SEAS and part of the team that set up the system said that the camera is currently being modified to accommodate the increased number of hits.

The IT office will not be able to say how many hits the HawkCam has received until the end of this week.

Three eggs have been spotted in the nest, Grinnell said.

But Michael P. Rutter, Director of Communications for SEAS, wrote in an e-mail to the Crimson yesterday that it appears as though the hawks have abandoned their eggs.

“It seems there might be a sad conclusion to this short-lived story,” said Brenda L. Mathieu, a faculty assistant at SEAS who has been following the video feed.

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