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Red-tailed Hawks

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Cornell Lab

Find more about Weather in Ithaca, NY

March 28, 2015

CornellHawks' First Egg of 2015

At about 11:38 ET, Big Red laid her first egg of the 2015 season. 

March 28, 2015

CornellHawks' First Egg of 2015 (Video Highlight)

At about 11:38 ET, Big Red laid her first egg of the 2015 season.  

March 27, 2015

CornellHawks Chat

Chat will open in the next couple weeks, and we're excited to share that this year we will be using a new popout chat tool called Chatroll to increase stability and chat performance. We're also introducing new chat hours (8 hours a day, 7 days a week: 6-9 AM, 12-3 PM and 6-8 PM ET). [UPDATE NOTED ON 3/29: Last shift will be 6-10 PM ET). If you have a Twitter account you can also ask questions during chat closures by tweeting @cornellhawks. Looking forward to another season!  

March 28, 2015

CornellHawks' First Egg of 2015 (Video Highlight)

At about 11:38 ET, Big Red laid her first egg of the 2015 season.  

March 24, 2015

Big Red and Ezra Bring Twigs to the Nest

In this clip Big Red flies in with a twig for the nest, and moves around in the nest cup shaping the bowl with her body and shuffling feet. Then a few minutes later Ezra arrives with another twig, positioning it on the side of the nest before doing his own attempt at shaping the nest cup. 

March 20, 2015

Prey Exchange at the Nest

Ezra arrives at the 2015 CornellHawks nest with a vole and calls to Big Red, who swoops in, accepts the prey, and flies off. Ezra follows.  

March 28

CornellHawks' First Egg of 2015

At about 11:38 ET, Big Red laid her first egg of the 2015 season. 

March 16

New Cams Installed at 2012 Nest

Great news folks, the cam installation at the 2012 and now 2015 ?Cornell Hawks? nest went well. There was a slight hitch with the wireless link at the end, but all is looking good. We hope to go live by the end of this week, possibly earlier. Stay tuned for more news! Thank you everyone for your kind support, it means a lot to us. 

March 11

Cam Installation Update

Keeping you up to speed with the latest developments, we wanted to let you know that we are tentatively planning to visit the 2012 nest this Friday to hopefully install some new cameras. We plan to leave the cameras in the 2013-14 nest in place. We are continuing to monitor the birds’ activity and we are still dependent on the weather, equipment and cooperation of various folks here on the ground, but we remain hopeful. More...

Red-tailed Hawk


Nest Placement

Red-tailed Hawks typically put their nests in the crowns of tall trees where they have a commanding view of the landscape. They may also nest on a cliff ledge or on artificial structures such as window ledges and billboard platforms.

Nest Description

Both members build the nest, or simply refurbish one of the nests they’ve used in previous years. Nests are tall piles of dry sticks up to 6.5 feet high and 3 feet across. The inner cup is lined with bark strips, fresh foliage, and dry vegetation. Construction takes 4-7 days.

Clutch Size

1-5 eggs

Incubation Period

28-35 days

Nestling Period

42-46 days

Egg Description

White or buffy, blotched or speckled with buff, brown, or purple.

Condition at Hatching

Tiny and helpless, unable to raise head, and weighing about 2 ounces.

Small Animals


Mammals make up the bulk of most Red-tailed Hawk meals. Frequent victims include voles, mice, wood rats, rabbits, snowshoe hares, jackrabbits, and ground squirrels. The hawks also eat birds, including pheasants, bobwhite, starlings, and blackbirds; as well as snakes and carrion. Individual prey items can weigh anywhere from less than an ounce to more than 5 pounds.

Typical Voice

Adults make a hoarse, screaming kee-eeeee-arr. It lasts 2-3 seconds and is usually given while soaring. During courtship, they also make a shrill chwirk, sometimes giving several of these calls in a row.more sounds

See full Species Info at All About Birds

About the Nest

A Red-tailed Hawk pair has been nesting above Cornell University’s athletic fields for at least the past four years. In 2012, 2013 and again in 2014, we installed cameras to get a better look at these majestic birds as they raise their young amid the bustle of a busy campus. So far, we’ve seen the birds bringing prey such as voles, squirrels, and pigeons to the nest.

Big Red and Her Mate

BigRed-ThreeEggs-600x350The female, nicknamed “Big Red” in honor of her alma mater, is slightly larger, with a darker head, nape and throat, and is banded on her right leg. From banding records we know she was banded in nearby Brooktondale, New York, during her first autumn in 2003, making her nearly eleven years old.



The male, named Ezra after the co-founder of Cornell University, is banded on his left leg. He’s a bit smaller and has golden-tawny feathers on his face and head, and a paler neck than the female. He is at least nine years old and was first banded in 2006 as an adult bird on Judd Falls Road near the Cornell campus.

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