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Today in labor history, March 30, 1930: Construction begins on the Hawks Nest Tunnel for a Union Carbide hydroelectric project. 3,000 mostly African-American migrant workers from the South were hired to complete the project and, to save time and money, were not provided with proper safety equipment to work cutting rock that had been discovered to have a high silica content. The official death toll from silicosis was 476, with estimates as high as 700 to 1,000. It is considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in U.S. history.


Western Red-Tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis calurus

Did you know that the “scream” of the Bald Eagles you see on TV (such as in the opening sequence of The Colbert Report) is almost always the call of the Red-Tailed Hawk? The Bald Eagle’s call is a loud, high-pitched, squeaky-toy-like chirp, whereas the Red-Tailed Hawk’s call is much more threatening, “majestic”, and powerful.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is highly adaptable, and can live almost anywhere, from desert, to forest, to farmland, and is one of the most successful birds of prey in North America. They even reside in cities, eating brown rats and pigeons.

Though some individuals will make their way through life eating mostly small foods, such as voles, beetles, and worms, Red-Tailed Hawks are known for frequently killing prey up to twice their size, such as marmots and wild turkeys.


Top: Red-Tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis

Center: Nesting sites of Western Red-Tailed Hawks - Saguaro cactus and Ocatilla bush.

Bottom: Fledgeling Western Red-Tailed Hawk that fell from a Saguaro nest onto the naturalist’s hat.

The Birds of California. William Leon Dawson, 1923.