Jun 10 2011
Peregrine falcon chicks and baby robins aren’t the only ones learning how to fly right now.
This year’s “baby” red-tailed hawks are learning too. They’re the same size as their parents but they’re clumsy fliers and often have trouble landing.
Even when they fly well enough to follow their parents they don’t know how to hunt. In this they have a lot in common with the young peregrines at Pitt.
How to get a meal? Ask mom and dad! Make sure they know you’re hungry! Make sure they notice you!
The juveniles of both species spread and wave their wings to attract their parents’ attention. “Look at me! I’m starving!”
And they whine a lot! Young red-tails and peregrines are both so loud that people often think they’re hurt. On Tuesday at Pitt the whining of just one peregrine chick on a 32nd floor ledge of the Cathedral of Learning was so loud I could hear it a quarter of a mile away on Craig Street!
Immature red-tails easily attract human attention even when they can hunt on their own. One summer I saw a young red-tail whining while he was hunting. He perched on a fence and whined at a mouse in the grass while he waited for the opportunity to pounce on it. The mouse escaped, of course.
Don’t be surprised if you see and hear young red-tailed hawks in the next month or two. Neil Gerjouy found this one waving his wings in Point Breeze last summer.
(photo by Neil Gerjuoy)