Jun 01 2008

Red-tail baby

Published by at 7:01 am under Birds of Prey,Nesting & Courtship

Red-tailed hawks, mother and nestling (photo by Kate St. John)Guess who else has a nestling? (Update on June 4, 2008: There are 2 nestlings!)

The pair of red-tailed hawks near my office has been quite conspicuous this spring. In March they mated at various locations in the neighborhood, then selected a site and constructed their nest in a gutter.

I didn’t think it was a good place for a nest. The roof is steep and the gutter fills in a hard rain and there’s no shade whatsoever. Mother Hawk thought differently.

She laid eggs in April and spent a long time incubating, almost invisible in the deep nest. I assume there was more than one egg but there’s no way to know. The nest is inaccessible – just the way they like it.

One day in early May her mate arrived at the nest with food. Hmmm. I’ll bet the eggs just hatched.

Outside my window the red-tail parents bring food – hour after hour, day after day. Last week they brought more leaves and evergreens to line the nest.

Finally this week the baby was tall enough to see over the edge. Ta dah! One nestling.

He has a nose like his mother’s, don’t you think?

(I took this photo from a great distance. The red heart-shaped things are decorative snow guards that keep snow from sliding off the roof. They are not as close to the nest as they appear in this photo)

Update on June 9:  It was so hot and sunny today that Mother Hawk mantled over her nestlings to provide shade while they stood on the nest to avoid the hot tin gutter. The nestlings are already feathered but not quite ready to fly. This evening they were exercising their wings, flapping and rising up above the nest.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Red-tail baby”

  1. CHWon 02 Jun 2008 at 9:28 am

    Good Morning Kate,
    I think I still see tails at the Gulf Tower. Any reports of the chicks leaving the nest? This morning one of the chicks was apparently on the camera at the Cathedral site, and at one point looked directly into the camera…what fun. Hope to see you at the tent in a few days.

  2. Kate StJon 02 Jun 2008 at 10:05 pm

    I haven’t heard any news of the Gulf Tower chicks but I assume they’ve flown – at least a little by now.

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