6/7, A Hawk on the Head is Worth...

The Cathedral red-tailed hawk kids are getting bigger, and fledging day is approaching. My estimate was June 10 for the first flight, but are the hawks showing any signs of getting ready?

Busy, busy on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday my eyes were so dilated from a visit to the optometrist that hawkwatching was right out.

Thursday

5:40 p.m. - Arrive at Cathedral to find an adult hawk perched at the tip of Gabriel's horn (probably Tristan since he perches farther out than does Isolde) and a nestling standing on the north side of the nest watching 113th St. The back of another nestling looking out the south side of the nest can also be seen.

5:42 - The head of the third nestling pops up between its siblings. She stands up for a minute, and then sits down where she can still look out.

Red-Tail Nestlings

5:50 - After walking down Morningside Drive to get a look at the fore side of the adult perched on Gabriel's horn (yes, Tristan), come back up the hill to find that one of the kids has jumped up on top of St. Andrew's head. First time I've seen that this year, and a good sign that fledging time is not too far away.

The View from St. Andrew's

The View from St. Andrew's

The View from St. Andrew's

5:54 - All three nestlings were briefly looking the same direction to the south, and then the kid on St. Andrew's head either jumped clumsily back into the nest or slid off his stone head.

5:56 - A nestling back up on St. Andrew's head, but I'm not sure if this is the same one or if she traded places with the one who had been on the left side of the nest. She's also sitting with tail outward.

Tight Fit

6:06 - All three kids in the same spots. Northside is scratching an itch.

Preening

6:10 - The nestling on St. Andrew's head has jumped back into the nest.

Hmmm, although all three have been visible and attentive to the outside world, there really hasn't been any wing flapping. Maybe they're not so ready?

6:12 - Two nestlings looking the same direction to the north.

6:20 - Finally find Isolde perched on the hospital chimney, where she was not before. Something tells me she landed there at 6:12.

6:24 - Two nestlings again show watch intently to the north, and sure enough, Isolde passes overhead and lands on Gabriel's horn with Tristan.

Tristan, Isolde and Gabriel

6:39 - Again with two kids swiveling their heads in synchronization as they watch something overhead, and Tristan lands on a finial directly above them.

6:41 - Tristan departs.

6:43 - Tristan returns, to Gabriel's horn.

Tristan Flies In

Just one kid visible from north of the nest. She seems to like watching doctors retrieve their cars from the parking lot.

6:44 - Same nestling stretches her wings, but it's not a flap...

Wing Stretch

She's jumping up on St. Andrew's head.

Jumping up on St. Andrew

Not bad, considering the lack of clearance overhead.

Checking the View

6:46 - Another nestling takes over the spot on the north side of the nest. It's the one I'm already thinking of as "Brownie" because she has a really heavy belly-band.

6:59 - Still one nestling perched on St. Andrew's head. Brownie is busy preening; there's been a lot of that.

The View from St. Andrew's

7:06 - And the sitter is off St. Andrew's head and back in the nest.

7:08 - Still two kids visible simply standing in the nest, Brownie on the north side doing the one-footed perch thing. Mom and Dad are still enjoying the fair weather up on Gabriel's horn. No one's gone hunting, so I don't expect a feeding to be coming up.

Exit.

No real flapping today, certainly not the type that suggests wing exercise.

Posted 6/09/2007 12:33:00 AM by Robert

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