cams image

Share the Cams with a Friend

Donate $20 and receive two limited edition Bird Cams Notepads

Merlin Bird ID app

Red-tailed Hawks

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Cornell Lab

Find more about Weather in Ithaca, NY

February 17, 2015

E3 Update

E3 continues to be part of the Cornell Raptor Program's educational outreach program, most recently attending a lecture and exhibition on raptor identification and natural history for the Environmental Sciences major at Wells College in Aurora, NY. The center is currently concentrating on keeping their birds protected from the cold and well fed during this cold winter. Dr John Parks reports that E3 continues to be tame and well-adjusted. He can fly short distances, as long as the trajectory is level or downward as he has limited lift when taking off. So far the young hawk has maintained his plumage in perfect condition and at this time of year Dr Parks is curious about what his appearance will be as he molts into adult plumage. E3 appears quite tolerant of the colder temperatures, but as with most of the birds at the center, has a particular disdain for the strong and frigid gusts of wind outside the building. Since the end of last year, he has been housed indoors, where they keep the temperature about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. More...

October 27, 2014

Ezra Visits Nest

A surprise visit from our Red-tailed Hawk Dad Ezra at 8:00AM, a wonderful way to start the week! 

October 20, 2014

E3 Makes Debut Appearance at Cornell Lab Migration Celebration 2014

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2014 Migration Celebration saw E3's debut appearance as an education bird and an ambassador for Red-tailed Hawks. He did an amazing job, with help from his awesome student handler. He remained calm and still while fans around him took photographs and filmed him. Birders on the Ground (BOG) Karel and BOGette live streamed throughout the day, as well as BOG Ferris. The Cornell Lab continue to be extremely grateful to all those involved in E3's rescue, care and support.  More...

September 17, 2014

Cornell Hawks 2014 Highlights

For over 100 days viewers watched the lives of a very special Red-tailed Hawk family nesting 80ft above an athletics field on a light pole at the Cornell University Campus in Ithaca, New York. For the third year we experienced what it takes for two devoted parents to raise three healthy young hawks in the wild. The Cornell Lab would like to thank the many people involved in watching and helping to protect these enchanting birds. Without the devotion of a community of dedicated people we would not be able to show these birds to the World. A special thank you to everyone who donated to keep the cams running, your support means everything to us. Thanks for watching, see you in 2015.  More...

October 17

E3 to Attend Cornell Lab Migration Celebration

The Cornell Lab's annual Migration Celebration will be on Saturday, October 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It's been a tradition for the Cornell Raptor Program to bring rehabilitated birds of prey for visitors to see. Dr. John Parks, director of the Raptor Program, says that E3 is scheduled to be included this year, starting at about 12:30. He reports that E3 is doing well and is ready for the event, having grown used to being around students, other birds, car sounds, etc.. However, it will be his first appearance as an education bird, and the outing will be brief—just 30 minutes or even less if E3 tires earlier. If you're in the Ithaca area, come join us in Sapsucker Woods on Saturday for raptors, bird walks, exhibits, and activities! Those of you who are too far to travel can try tuning in to live broadcasts by Birders on the Ground Karel and BOGette to see how E3 is doing.  More...

September 23

An Update on E3

We're happy to update you that in the three months since #E3's injury in June, he has continued to heal steadily under the expert care of veterinarians and staff at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center, and he has spent the last few weeks in rehabilitation with the Cornell Raptor Program, directed by Dr. John Parks. Click "More" for the full report...  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.