Red-tailed Hawks

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Cornell Lab

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July 02, 2018

Hawk Fledglings Race to the Nest to Secure Prey Drop From Arthur

Watch H1 and H3 race to the nest to claim a prey offering from Arthur. H1 swoops in to snatch the meal from its dad's talons and mantles over the prey while H3 vocalizes from above. You know what they say: the early bird gets the worm—or in this case, the rodent!  

June 29, 2018

Sunny Silhouette On The Cornell Hawks Cam

Start your Friday off right with this sunny silhouette of a fledgling Red-tailed Hawk!  

June 20, 2018

H3 Gets Up Close And Personal With Cornell Hawks Cam

H3 stopped by for some one-on-one time at the Cornell Hawks cam this morning. Watch the juvenile inch closer and closer to the camera lens before dismounting from the rail of the nesting platform.  

July 02, 2018

Hawk Fledglings Race to the Nest to Secure Prey Drop From Arthur

Watch H1 and H3 race to the nest to claim a prey offering from Arthur. H1 swoops in to snatch the meal from its dad's talons and mantles over the prey while H3 vocalizes from above. You know what they say: the early bird gets the worm—or in this case, the rodent!  

June 29, 2018

Sunny Silhouette On The Cornell Hawks Cam

Start your Friday off right with this sunny silhouette of a fledgling Red-tailed Hawk!  

June 20, 2018

H3 Gets Up Close And Personal With Cornell Hawks Cam

H3 stopped by for some one-on-one time at the Cornell Hawks cam this morning. Watch the juvenile inch closer and closer to the camera lens before dismounting from the rail of the nesting platform.  

June 10

"H3" Fledges From Cornell Hawks Nest!

Not to be outdone by its siblings, Red-tailed Hawk chick "H3" fledges just hours after its eldest nest mate. Watch the young chick take the plunge from the fledge ledge at 45 days post-hatch in this clip from the Cornell Hawk cam! Reports from BOGs say that H3 landed safely on the ground. More...

June 10

Red-tailed Hawk Chick "H1" Fledges From Cornell Hawks Nest!

At 11:26 AM on June 10, H1 perches on the railing of the nest platform and takes wing for the first time as a fledgling! Local birders-on-the-ground (BOGs) Karel and Bogette report that H1 landed safely in a tree below the nesting platform. After the chick's first flight, its recently fledged sibling "H2" follows suit and departs from the platform in quick fashion (H2 has returned to the nest multiple times since fledging on June 8). More...

June 08

H2 Accidentally Fledges, First Chick To Leave The Nest In 2018!

It's official—Red-tailed Hawk chick "H2" fledged just moments ago on the Cornell Hawks cam!!! We can't say it was the most graceful way to take a first flight. Watch the chick accidentally fall of the ledge of the nesting platform while preening. Thanks to reports coming from local birders-on-the-ground (BOGs) Karel and Bogette, we know that H2 landed safely, making its way to a nearby tree to perch. More...

Red-tailed Hawk

Tree

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

Food

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 since at least the 2012, making use of two different light towers for their nest sites. In 2012, 2015, and 2018 they used a tower near Fernow Hall, and in 2013, 2014, and 2016, they used the tower nearest Weill Hall. We installed cameras at both of these sites to get a better look at the intimate behavior of these well-known birds as they raise their young amid the bustle of a busy campus.

Big Red and Her Mates

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.

 

ArthurOnNest_125x125The male, Arthur, was named in honor of the founder of the Cornell Lab, Arthur A. Allen. He was first spotted on Cornell University campus as a fledgling in 2016. He is unbanded and has a paler chest, head, and nape than Big Red. The pair first spent time together in April 2017, after Big Red’s previous mate, Ezra, had died. The hawks attempted their first breeding season together in 2018.

20130315-EzraOnNestBig Red’s former mate, named Ezra after the co-founder of Cornell University, died in March 2017 (read about his legacy here). He and Big Red had raised successful broods every year from 2012–2016. He was a bit smaller and had golden-tawny feathers on his face and head. He also had a paler neck than the female. He was first banded in 2006 as an adult bird on Judd Falls Road near the Cornell campus.