6/2, Flapping

Finally, some vigorous wing exercises from at least one of the cathedral red-tailed hawk nestlings.

But first... Isolde was feeding the three nestlings when I first arrived and did so for the next 15 minutes before taking off. Only one of the babies was visible over the next 10-15 minutes

Red-Tail Baby

Surprisingly, Isolde then returned to the nest...

Red-Tail Mama and Baby

...and started another feeding. One of the nestlings, presumably Eldest, must have gotten its fill the first time, as it turned out away from the food after a few minutes.

Red-Tail Mama and Baby

This second feeding lasted just 10 minutes. Isolde picked up a chunk of the carcass and thought for a moment about where to go.

Isolde Prepares to Take out the Trash

After that glare that hinted she might dump the carcass on my head, she was off over the trees and heading east.

Isolde Takes out the Trash

Over the next half hour, the one nestling was always visible and a second quite often. At times, the two of them seemed to be hunched over food that might have been left in the nest. A couple times, Eldest gave some mild wing flaps, more than stretching but not particularly vigorous.

Tentative Flap

Tentative Flap

Things settled down for a while. Not much to see except the back of one nestling. Then there were a couple of minutes of being able to see all three babies sitting up and looking around. (Always a relief to see all three, after what happened last year.)

As darkness gathered, Eldest was out on the north edge of the nest and suddenly seemed to get a lot more interested in figuring out what its wings were for. There were several episodes of very vigorous wing flapping.

Flap Flap Flap

With panicky hops back into the nest.

Friday marks what should roughly be six weeks from hatch of Eldest. Although this should mark the opening of its likely fledging period, I expect it will probably be a few more days before it makes the jump. In addition to not having really given its wings some exercise until today, it struck me that its tail feathers still seem a bit short and need another inch or two of growth.

Posted 6/02/2011 10:53:00 PM by Robert

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