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Red-tailed Hawks

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Cornell Lab

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March 25, 2014

Big Red Lays Third Egg (Video Highlight)

Early in the morning on March 25, 2014, Big Red laid her third egg of the season, with the first sighting just before 5:40 AM. 

March 25, 2014

Big Red Lays Third Egg

Despite single-digit overnight temperatures, sometime in the early morning Big Red greeted us with a third egg! 

March 22, 2014

A Second Egg!

Big Red laid her second egg of 2014 this morning, with the first sighting just a little before 11:00 AM EDT. 

March 25, 2014

Big Red Lays Third Egg (Video Highlight)

Early in the morning on March 25, 2014, Big Red laid her third egg of the season, with the first sighting just before 5:40 AM. 

March 05, 2014

Big Red and Ezra Visit the Nest Again Adding Some Greenery

Ezra adds some greenery to the nest this morning, followed by Big Red with more nest materials. Ezra departs at 7:02am and Big Red leaves at 7:06am. Video submitted by ncaerie and cam operated by Keysfishin. More...

February 25, 2014

A Third Red-tailed Hawk Visits the Nest

A new Hawk, banded on the left leg, visits the nest as Ezra covers the nest cup. Later in the day Ezra returns leaving some green foliage and a vole in the nest. It will be interesting to see what happens next! Video submitted by ncaerie, cam operated by keysfishin. 

March 25

Big Red Lays Third Egg

Despite single-digit overnight temperatures, sometime in the early morning Big Red greeted us with a third egg! 

March 22

A Second Egg!

Big Red laid her second egg of 2014 this morning, with the first sighting just a little before 11:00 AM EDT. 

March 19

Big Red Lays Her First Egg

Big Red laid her first egg of the 2014 season at around 1:11 PM EDT on March 19, 2014 

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 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.

 

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 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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