Jun 16 2008

Red-tail babies, Part 2

Published by at 9:07 pm under Birds of Prey,Nesting & Courtship

Red-tailed Hawk nestling pre-flight (photo by Kate St. John)

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time – and viewing the normally gorgeous photos – you can tell that today’s pictures were taken by yours truly at a very long distance with a lens that wasn’t up to the job.  Clearly I am very lucky to have friends with good cameras and lots of skill who save me from having to rely on my own photography. 

As you can (or can’t) see, there’s a bird in the center of the first picture.  It’s a young red-tailed hawk standing in the gutter of the building next to my office.  This is where he was born and he’s still too young to fly so, for the moment, this is where he’s staying.  

In the past five days he and his sibling have explored the gutter from end to end and flapped their little hearts out to exercise their wings.  When the weather is bad they have nowhere else to go so they stand stoically and wait for something to change.  Last week after a particularly hard downpour the two of them stood in the gutter with their wings slightly open waiting to dry off.  Fortunately there has been no hail.

Mother Red-tailed Hawk looking for prey from a sneaky location (photo by Kate St. John)While I snapped his picture, our young hawk was looking at his mother, probably hoping she would bring him food.  She was trying to be inconspicuous among the floodlights but some blue jays were harassing her so much that she whined – and so I found her. 

She and her mate have been quite busy providing food.  From a distance I can see him over at Carnegie-Mellon, perched on Warner Hall’s antenna staring at the ground.  He, too, hopes for a successful hunt.  His kids must be fed 10-15 times a day.

Some day soon – I wish I knew when – the two young red-tailed hawks will fledge.  They’ll stay very close to the nest for the first few days.  Perhaps then I’ll get a better picture.

Hmmmm.  Don’t count on it.

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