We’ve visited the red-tailed hawks at Cornell a couple of times. Yesterday, we saw them again, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be our last time. The hawklets may be flying before we get back!
They’re large enough to see easily from the ground now. We got there in the late afternoon, and over the hour or so that we were there, we saw two of them; the third, we saw on the nest cam, was resting out of our sight.
It was a hot one, and they were panting. (So were we!)
Ezra was on a nearby light pole, keeping an eye on things. Initially we didn’t see Big Red, but after a few minutes we saw her on the nest with the chicks. I’m not sure whether she flew in while our eyes were elsewhere, or whether she just changed position so we could see her better. In any case, she had a mission in mind that involved a short flight.
Obviously I was photographing this in a window through the trees. She flew over Older Daughter and me, and into a small tree about 40 feet from where my husband and Younger Daughter sat on the steps of the building across the street! There she proceeded to rip some home improvements from the tree while a chorus of small birds scolded from the neighboring branches.
She flew back to the nest with her hard-won beakfull of bark. It was hazy, and the light doesn’t bring out her color as much as I’d like, but she is so amazing in flight — beautifully marked and powerful.
Back at the nest, she deposited the bark and headed off across the neighboring athletic field. She perches farther away than Ezra, who has picked a lightpost on the same field as the nest both times we’ve visited recently. She spent her time eating something atop the pole, circling a little, and landing on a neighboring pole.
Meantime, back at the nest, one of the hawklets practiced flapping.
Ezra had taken off shortly after we arrived, and we saw him getting mobbed across the field.
He must have held his own, because he arrived back at a lightpost near the nest.
We were about ready to leave, but we waited a few minutes more just in case Red flew back across to the nest. Instead, Ezra launched from his post, and she followed a few moments later. They circled together and went out of sight.
We decided to take their cue and head out ourselves. We’d seen what we came to see. The most incredible experience was seeing Red in that tree, so close, yet so intent on her bark-ripping!