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.

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:

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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:

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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."

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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:

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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.

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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:
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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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