They returned the third nestling to the nest.

The most incredible photo is here:

...showing the wildlife rehab guy, holding her, just inside the window before placing her back on the ledge (where she hopped back over to the nest, where I've been watching her off and on last evening and throughout the morning, as always.)

I love that photo, because it shows the shit-spattered window I'm so used to seeing, it shows the camera up above the ledge, through which I've been watching this whole drama, and most of all, it shows the BIRD. What an amazing creature, close up! Her silvery eye, her enormous size, seen now with added human for scale, her amazing claws...and all this power and size, from a creature still too young to fly properly!

I'm glad to have her back. I bought a betta fish for my desk, so that even when the hawks were gone, I could have a creature to keep an eye on while I work...but another week or two of hawk-watching via webcam is just fine with me.

ETA: Aww, one of the siblings came by with a rodent, to share with the nest-bound youngster. Hawks are the greatest; looking after each other like that.
daphnep: (sneakers)
( Jun. 8th, 2009 09:12 am)
The short version: one of the hawks tried to fly before she was ready, and had to be rescued, but it all turned out okay because so many people were watching them, cheering them on, that they caught her distress before it turned into a tragedy.

I'll link you to the Inquirer story here:

and a blog retelling here from one of the active participants on the Franklin Institute's website:

(I think this was the woman we met, watching the nest on the Parkway last week.)

and give you a picture of the hawk, here:

She'll be rehabilitated with a foster hawk-mama and released into a wilderness area where she won't have to compete for territory or resources. And where I won't be able to watch her from my desktop, but oh, well. We get the others, right here in town, any time we want to see them.

Speaking of which, Dan sees them every day, flying around, because he works on the Parkway. On Saturday (the same day the one fledgling needed rescuing) he was walking with our friend Kim and they were buzzed by a low-flying hawklet, so low they could feel the rush of air on their heads and shoulders. The "babies" whirl and climb and plunge and do stunt manoeuvers, and are really strong flyers.
daphnep: (eye)
( Jun. 3rd, 2009 12:26 pm)
Who would have thought, the little late hawk, the tiniest one, would be the bravest and boldest and first to go? I'm watching him take off and land, take off and land from the nest. He looks around at his siblings as if to say "Whatchoo hangin' around here for? There's a whole world out there!" Then he cocks his head this way and that, and then goes for another takeoff.

You can almost see his enthusiasm. My baby is flying!
Someone with a much better camera than I has gone down and taken some good shots of the nest on the Parkway.

They're here:

Feeding time! A parent (I think Dad, but I'm not sure) brings food for the babies. I watched them eat. I watched them poop. I watched them ripping something to shreds.

The adult flies away, while three little faces peer after.

Three little faces, peering. Peering is what hawklets do best.

The other two soon go back to sleep, but Wobble has the world in her sights and is going to look all around for as long as she can. Here, you can see how tawny and golden her feathers have gotten.

Hard to imagine, with her sitting up this proud, that there are two more just like her, completely out of sight below the rim of the nest.

"Whachoo lookin' at, wingless creature?!?"

*I can't really tell the chicks apart, of course. I just assume that the most advanced one is the firstborn.

One hawk baby, sittin' in the nest...

Actually, there are still three. The other two are just taking a walk out on the ledge, off to the left. Here, Doddy takes a long look at the camera.

Isn't he handsome?

Tomorrow I'll go back and take more pictures from the side of the building, to show you the urban version of their "branching" voyages. Maybe I'll even be lucky enough to catch one of their early flight attempts!

I'm not worried about them, though. If you've watched them stretch and bounce and flex their wings, you know they have really terrific wingspans, by now, with full feathers on their wings. They were born to fly, and they know it, and their bodies are prepared for this. They're ready to go!

Look out, Philadelphia pigeons!
So yesterday I went over to visit the hawks and see how the situation is.

The babies (if you're watching them on the webcam) are growing long legs and large wings, and they have visible wingfeathers forming at the tips, and they like to stand up and bounce on their legs and stretch their wings in the air. I wanted to see how visible they'll be, once they start taking their first airborne voyages.

At first I was surprised I didn't see more "action" over the rim of the nest. I know from the cam that they like to sit up, now, and peer down on the city from their window seat. But at first I saw nothing.

Then I noticed Mama Hawk was watching from a point higher up on the building. Here, I will show you:

title or description

The nest is not on the side with the main entrance, where the public comes and goes. It's on the side facing the Parkway, and you can tell here how far away I was from the building, and my back was against the fence by the underpass, so there's quite a distance between the building and the actual heavy traffic. It's noisy, there, but they're not going to leap out of the nest and onto a highway or anything.

I even took a picture to show you the green grassy area directly under the nest box. If the babies jump and fall (which they will NOT, but you know how I fret, so I'm checking out these things), this is where they'll land:

title or description

But mostly, I just watched the box.

Mommy left after a while, and then soon Daddy (smaller, greyer) came swooping in and spent some time chilling on the windowsill.

Here he checks everybody out. "Hey, are you guys okay?" "Yeah, Dad. We're fine. What'ja bring us?" "Nothing, just hanging out this time". "Oh, okay, then."

title or description

The first time a face came peeping over, I just laughed, and couldn't take a picture. Another time, I saw two full faces, peering around, but I was holding my camera against my chest and all I got were pictures of the top of the window.

I did not get to see a feeding.

I did get one picture of one of the little guys stretching his wings:

title or description

Mostly they were just humping, bumping grey activity along the edge line of the box. Only now and then did I see actual little heads popping up. They look darker, from below, with little solemn black faces.

One of the main things I noticed was the enormous amount of general bird activity in the vicinity. Traffic was roaring behind me, and I know the nest is always filled with the bloody remains of smaller birds and mammals that the parents have killed, and yet the whole area is filled with chirping, and sparrows flutter right by under Mama's nose, unconcerned, and even squirrels are dashing this way and that, totally unconcerned that predators loom overhead, looking for the next meal to bring home to the babies. From watching the webcam above, I feel like these hawks must surely have that whole area contained, wreaking havoc amongst the wildlife...but from the ground, you see that they take what they need, and they really don't care about any of the other birds. Right around the corner, there's probably another nest of robins or sparrows or doves, raising their own meek little family. And all our traffic? That's their own background noise. They don't give the slightest care about us, either.

title or description

This is Daddy, watching me watching him.
I feel like a giddy fan, approaching a celebrity. "Heh heh, I watch your show EVERY day! Can I get an autograph?"

ETA: an updated portrait of the chicklings, especially one little guy sitting up and looking around:
title or description
daphnep: (eye)
( Apr. 29th, 2009 04:34 pm)
They're not quite teenaged, yet...that will happen when feathers start growing in.

They're just long, and gawky, with pointy faces, and they stand up and walk around and flap their wings like they're imagining the rush of wind through them, already.

"I knew you when you were a little egg!" I tell them each, virtually petting them with my mouse pointer.

When you walk by the Franklin Institute, you can see the profiles of the mama and papa if they're sitting upright in the nest. Soon, we'll be able to peek in at the babies from the ground, too, as they grow bigger and their heads peep up a little higher.
Hawk family snapshots, for today. The whole family is present, and half a rabbit lays off to the side (left side of screen.)

Here they are, all in a line. LOOK HOW BIG THEY ARE!!!

Here little Wobbly is showing off by standing straight up on his legs, lower screen, and looking around with his little hawk-face.

Mama left part of a rat in the nest and one of the babies was pecking at it, straight, today. They're learning to eat on their own.

I feel so proud.
daphnep: (victorygarden)
( Apr. 21st, 2009 12:31 pm)
I've been crazy busy. I have done so much in the past few days, I can't even begin to sum it up here. I am tired and my shoulders are aching.

HOWEVER, we have a vegetable garden. That is the best, most important Good Thing, and the best, most important result of the last few days.

And my hawk babies are growing and doing quite well:

I love when Mama is sitting on them and one of them pokes out from under, like "HEY! What's going on out here!" And then, here, they all came popping out, one after the other: Wobble, Bobble, and Doddy, all three. It's nice, out, for a moment. They want to look around and soak up the day.

Earlier today, Papa stopped by for a feeding. He and Mama got all kissy-face with each other. (Actually, they're ripping apart some bloody pigeon guts. But I like to call it "kissing".) Red-tailed hawks mate for life, by the way.

Once Wobble, Bobble, and Doddy are less wobbly, bobbly and doddering, like when they fledge and start practicing to fly and hunt on their own, I will go down to the Parkway with my camera and take pictures of them in person.

I can be your Philly hawk-baby liaison.

daphnep: (cutest thing ever)
( Apr. 17th, 2009 04:13 pm)
My dream was false: baby three is out and relaxing. He still has a curve of eggshell stuck to his butt, but when you look into the nest, you see three fuzzy chicks and the broken shell the last one clawed his way out of.

I got to watch a baby hawk chick hatch, today. That makes a pretty good day, in my estimation.
daphnep: (Default)
( Apr. 17th, 2009 01:50 pm)
Number three is hatching! The hole in the egg has turned into a line,
and while mommy fed the other two chicks, number three pressed on his
shell enough to wiggle out one pathetic little stumpy wing and wobble it
all around. We have one wing free! Soon he'll be out, all the way.

In the meantime, chicks #1 and #2 squabble over the mouse bites, pecking
each other even though they can barely hold up their heads. They have no
table manners whatsoever!
daphnep: (spring)
( Apr. 17th, 2009 07:30 am)
I had a dream the third hawk baby died, mid-hatching. I woke up and rushed to the computer, just in time to see Mama hawk feeding the babies. Baby #2 is now bobbling and eating, actively, and Mama does a good job alternating between the two so that both get fed. I think they will be fine. Egg #3 has a clear hole in it, so hatching is underway, but no chick, yet.

I poured myself some cereal and we all ate breakfast together: me with my granola and soy milk, hawkies with their strips of fresh mouse julienne.
After weeks and weeks of waiting and watching, two baby hawks are here, and one is on its way!!!!

I had to work on Friday, so I took my paid holiday "Good Friday" day today, to hang out with Dan on his day off. In the afternoon, we walked by the Franklin Institute and looked up at the nest from the ground for a few minutes, wondering if we'd see a hawk come or go.

We did not. We got back home and check the camera, however, and found that hatching action has been going on all day long. We were probably standing there, staring at the nest from the bottom, about the time chick number two flopped its weary way out of its shell.

This is amazing. (Yes, Murphy, amazing. I am amazed.)

Live feed:

Live Streaming by Ustream.TV

ETA: I just got to watch mama hawk feed baby #1. Baby chick#2 seems too exhausted from the effort of hatching to eat just yet. She/he flops around with pathetic little stumps of wings, for now. But baby#1, in spite of having a newborn's wobbly head, is very hungry and takes little strips of mouse from the mama (which she strips off of a variety of mice she now has cached around the nest.) Mama pulls of a bloody strip, and baby chick wobbles with open beak to get it. They are very gentle. And the chicks are very fluffy. I think I love them.
daphnep: (spring)
( Mar. 17th, 2009 02:00 pm)
Forget the patience of Job. Bible stories are soooooooo overrated. If we aspire to patience, we should hope for the patience of a mama bird, sitting on her eggs. Madame Queue-Rouge, of the Franklin Institute, is the most patient creature I have ever seen.

(But when she does take a little break, she has 200+ human observers watching over her babies for her, on webcam. I keep her little camera in a window resized small in the corner of my screen, and when she came back after a little break, I found myself exhaling in relief. Those little naked eggs are cute, but I feel much better when Mama Hawk is there.)

Edited to add pictures of what Red-tailed Hawk babies look like. They're kind of ugly little things. I love them. This is what I'm waiting for. What Madame is sitting around patiently, for.
daphnep: (cutest thing ever)
( Mar. 16th, 2009 05:29 pm)
Red-tailed hawks have built a nest on a ledge at the Franklin Institute, overlooking the Parkway.

Dan has been watching them wheeling and soaring from his job on the Parkway. Then, he heard the news about the nest, and that the Franklin Institute has set up a camera inside the window so that we can all watch the hawk family live, online, whenever the sun is up.

We like to keep a window open on the computer so we can keep tabs on their comings and goings. Two days ago, there were two eggs. Sunday, we were out of town and missed the activities, but today, a THIRD egg is there.

A few minutes ago, I was watching the eggs while the feathers lining the nest flutter around, and cars roll by in the background. Then, I looked up, and there she was: the mama hawk. The mama and papa take turns sitting on the nest. (I can't tell them apart, but Dan can.) Dan and I take turns fretting over their well-being. When the eggs are uncovered, we check the temperature out and wonder if the eggs are warm enough, if the parents have been gone too long, etc.

I'm sure they will be fine, but I will fret for them just the same. I can't wait until the eggs hatch, and we can watch hawk chickies do their hawk chick thing. This is way, way better than the Discovery Channel, even.

[Edited to add the link to the webcam:]


daphnep: (Default)


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