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Red-tailed Hawks

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Cornell Lab

Find more about Weather in Ithaca, NY

September 17, 2014

E3

Slowly, but surely, E3 is getting better every day. Everyone is working hard to ensure his well-being, and he continues to have a very good temperament. We are hoping to get together a detailed update for all of his fans by next week. Stay tuned and thanks for everyone’s continued support! 

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...

August 29, 2014

Cornell Hawks' Family DNA Study

Last year the Cornell Hawks community was saddened to hear about the loss of two juvenile Red-tailed Hawks on Cornell campus. One was found dead; the other was euthanized because of the severity of its injuries. Many Bird Cams viewers feared they were D1 and D3, Big Red and Ezra's oldest and youngest offspring. A small group of dedicated individuals embarked on a project to study the hawks' DNA to determine the birds' identities. A sample of E3's DNA gathered this year completed the puzzle, and the results may surprise you. Click 'More...' for further information. 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...

June 14, 2014

All Three Hawks Fledge!

By lunchtime we had an empty #CornellHawks nest! All hawks fledged. E2 left the nest just after 6AM in the morning shortly followed by E1. Both juveniles spent time together on the Plant Sciences building. Male parent Ezra later made a prey drop to the fledglings. Soon after the prey drop E3 fledged with a confident flight to a nearby tree.  

June 12, 2014

E2 Returns to Nest After Fledging

Amazingly after spending the morning on Weill Hall, on a ledge just higher than the ledge E2 first landed on after fledging, E2 returns to the nest to join E1 and E3 who are both yet to fledge. This same event occurred in 2012. Thank to ncaerie for the video clip. 

August 29

Cornell Hawks' Family DNA Study

Last year the Cornell Hawks community was saddened to hear about the loss of two juvenile Red-tailed Hawks on Cornell campus. One was found dead; the other was euthanized because of the severity of its injuries. Many Bird Cams viewers feared they were D1 and D3, Big Red and Ezra's oldest and youngest offspring. A small group of dedicated individuals embarked on a project to study the hawks' DNA to determine the birds' identities. A sample of E3's DNA gathered this year completed the puzzle, and the results may surprise you. Click 'More...' for further information. More...

July 19

E3 is Moved Outdoors to Continue Healing

E3 is still on the road to recovery and making progress. Though his wing is still wrapped, the veterinarians at the Janet Swanson Wildlife Health Center are pleased with how he is doing. They also decided he is well enough to be moved to an outdoor enclosure. Here, E3 can enjoy the outdoors outside of a clinical environment, but still continue to be monitored by his doctors.  

April 29

E3 Has Hatched

The final Red-tailed Hawk egg has hatched at 12:25PM, April 29, over 40 hours later than sibling E2. 

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.