Campus News

Author spends year observing hawk species

After reading J.A. Baker’s 50-year-old British nature classic The Peregrine, John Lane, professor of English and environmental studies at Wofford College, found himself an ocean away, stalking resident red-shouldered hawks in his neighborhood in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

What he observed was very different from what Baker deduced from a decade of chronicling the lives of those brooding migratory raptors. Baker imagined a species on the brink of extinction because of the use of agricultural chemicals on European farms. A half century later in America, Lane found the red-shouldered hawks to be a stable Anthropocene species adapted to life along the waterways of a suburban nation.

Lane watched the hawks for a full year. The almanac that results from this discipline considers many questions any practiced amateur naturalist would ask.