Red-tailed Hawks

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Cornell Lab

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July 16, 2016

G1 Update—July 16

On Saturday we received a brief progress update on G1 from the wildlife rehabilitator, along with an image. The young hawk continues to do well and no further complications have arisen since her transfer from the Wildlife Health Center. Assuming G1 continues to do well, we wouldn't expect another update till sometime in August.  More...

July 09, 2016

G1 is Healing Well

We are happy to share news that G1’s rehabilitator has been in touch with the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center to let them know that G1 is doing well and has a great appetite. Her wings appear to be symmetric and are held in a normal position. The goal will be to keep G1 in a small area for another two weeks or so, then start increasing the size of the cage so she can exercise her wings at her own pace. At left is a photo of G1 from the rehabilitator. On behalf of Cornell and the cam community, we’d like to thank the rehabilitator for caring for G1 and for updating us with this good news. 

July 04, 2016

Sad News About Hawk Believed to Be G3

We are sad to share news about the hawk that was brought to the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center yesterday. The hawk had been found on its belly, unable to walk, and at the Wildlife Health Center veterinarians noted the bird’s paralysis. Evaluation of radiographs indicated a catastrophic break to the spine, explaining the paralysis they had observed. Because this hawk would have no hope of surviving in the wild or having quality life in captivity, the veterinarians made the decision to euthanize the hawk today. This hawk is believed to be G3 based on its location when found, and observations of birders on the ground who noted that G2 was still in the area. They also noted the outline of a bird on the glass of the bus shelter near where the hawk was found, evidence that a collision with the shelter was the likely cause of injury. This is a sad reminder of how hazardous and deadly glass can be to birds when they are unable to distinguish the reflections in glass from the surrounding habitat. Each year in the United States alone, 599 million birds are estimated to be killed in collisions with windows. For latest information about preventing window strikes, please visit the American Bird Conservancy’s website by going to https://abcbirds.org/program/glass-collisions/ or clicking "More" at the end of this post. Thank you to the veterinarians and staff at the Swanson Wildlife Health Center for their dedication, expertise, and care for the hawks as well as other wild animals in need of help. We also thank the cam community for your outpouring of concern and support for the Cornell hawks. More...

July 01, 2016

G1 Status Update—July 1

G1's stay at Cornell's Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center is going as well as could be expected. Test results and evaluations continue to be good, and G1 is eating heartily while getting a lot of rest. We plan to hear from the staff of the Wildlife Health Center with an update on G1's status after the holiday weekend. Thanks for everyone's good thoughts and support! More...

June 20, 2016

All Three Fledglings in the Nest, Fighting Over Prey

Ezra delivers a chipmunk to the nest site, which is subsequently fought over by the three fledglings. Thanks to videographer Denise for capturing and sharing the video! 

June 09, 2016

G3 Fledges Just Before Dusk!

Dedicated Birders-on-the-Ground Karel and BOGette captured G3 taking off from the platform on its first flight just before dusk. The young hawk glided across Tower Road and landed on the greenhouse (which is being manually controlled) before finding cover for the night.  

July 16

G1 Update—July 16

On Saturday we received a brief progress update on G1 from the wildlife rehabilitator, along with an image. The young hawk continues to do well and no further complications have arisen since her transfer from the Wildlife Health Center. Assuming G1 continues to do well, we wouldn't expect another update till sometime in August.  More...

June 28

G1 Status Update—June 28

Yesterday afternoon, veterinarians at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center took radiographs of G1 and confirmed their suspicions that G1 has a fractured left shoulder. These fractures have the potential to heal on their own if the bird is given complete rest then allowed to very slowly exercise. Some birds have even been released after recovery. At this point, the doctors caring for G1 are not considering surgery. While it is still too early to determine if the bird will be releasable, every effort will be made to ensure the success of its time spent under the care of the Wildlife Health Center. If you have questions, please send them to birdcams@cornell.edu and we will be working together to answer them. We hope to be able to share another update on Friday, after G1 has been under observation for several days and been evaluated again—thanks for your patience. Click "More" to learn how you can help support the care of G1 by making a donation. More...

June 27

G1 Status Update—June 27

On Sunday June 26, 2016, one of the recently fledged Red-tailed Hawks from the Cornell Hawks nest (“G1”) was discovered unable to fly and was taken to the Cornell Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center (see earlier post for details). The veterinarians performed a complete examination at the center and allowed the bird to rest quietly for the rest of the evening.  Although they suspect an injury to the shoulder, they are awaiting further tests (including radiographs to be performed later today) to determine the extent of these injuries.  Since arriving Sunday afternoon, G1 appears to be doing well, and seems to be curious about its new environment. We hope to be able to update you later today or tomorrow morning after the radiographs have been taken and evaluated. If you have questions, please send them to birdcams@cornell.edu and we will be working together to answer them. All of the staff at the Wildlife Health Center would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to all of you who have expressed concerns for G1. Your support and kind thoughts are much appreciated! You can help support the Cornell Wildlife Health Center's care of G1—click "More" to donate.  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 for at least the past five 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 thirteen years old.

 

20130315-EzraOnNest

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 11 years old and was first banded in 2006 as an adult bird on Judd Falls Road near the Cornell campus.