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Red-tailed Hawks

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Cornell Lab

Find more about Weather in Ithaca, NY

May 04, 2016

Cam 1 Down For 2016 Season

On the morning of April 29, the Cornell Hawks pan-tilt-zoom cam went offline unexpectedly. After all attempts to contact the cam remotely failed, we made a trip on May 3 to a cluster of equipment mounted lower on the pole, underneath the nest. The good news was that, as expected, the hawks didn't really care that we were working up on the pole. We did our best to stay out of sight underneath the nest, and I think she appreciated that. The bad news is that the issue with cam 1 is happening somewhere above the equipment cluster on the pole, either with the cable feeding the cam OR with the cam itself. This means that the cam will likely be offline the rest of the season. 

April 28, 2016

Breakfast Time

Here's a clip of breakfast time on the Cornell Hawks nest. The female - Big Red - makes sure everyone gets something! 

April 23, 2016

G3 hatches

Chick 3 of Cornell Hawks generation G hatched around 7:37 AM today! 

April 28, 2016

Breakfast Time

Here's a clip of breakfast time on the Cornell Hawks nest. The female - Big Red - makes sure everyone gets something! 

April 21, 2016

G1's first morning

The first hawk chick of Cornell Hawks generation "G" (the first generation on cam in 2012 was "C", for "chick") hatched around 6:30 PM yesterday! Here's a clip of the first chicks, before its sibling G2 hatched, from this morning. The winner of Guess-the-Hatch is Geri W. from Pleasant Hill, CA! Her guess was spot on. Congratulations! 

April 21, 2016

G1 and G2

Squirmy chicks G1 and G2 get some preening attention from mom Big Red on their first day out of their eggs.  

May 04

Cam 1 Down For 2016 Season

On the morning of April 29, the Cornell Hawks pan-tilt-zoom cam went offline unexpectedly. After all attempts to contact the cam remotely failed, we made a trip on May 3 to a cluster of equipment mounted lower on the pole, underneath the nest. The good news was that, as expected, the hawks didn't really care that we were working up on the pole. We did our best to stay out of sight underneath the nest, and I think she appreciated that. The bad news is that the issue with cam 1 is happening somewhere above the equipment cluster on the pole, either with the cable feeding the cam OR with the cam itself. This means that the cam will likely be offline the rest of the season. 

April 23

G3 hatches

Chick 3 of Cornell Hawks generation G hatched around 7:37 AM today! 

April 21

G2 hatches

G2, the second chick of this season's generation "G" of Cornell Hawks chicks, hatched fully out of its egg around 8:30 AM today! 

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.