Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Three Baby Hawks Growing

Yesterday, while I was working in the garden on my roof a pair of hawks flew over me, very low. They were returning to the park, to their nest. The first was carrying a small prey in its talons, followed by a larger hawk, most probably Alba, the female adult and mother who is larger and has a distinctive white patch on her uppertail coverts which I was able to recognize. 
I was ecstatic, blessed to see and feel them so close in their flight path.

A while later I went to my 'watch tower' alongside the park and despite the hot sun and strong dusty wind I took a few shots of the current activity at the hawk nest. It's amazing how fast they grow. Two of the eyases are moving a lot and walking about in nest and the third still looks more subdued. Hopefully it is OK. This eyas is probably the youngest of the three. 
Below is a picture of the nest taken yesterday, Monday, May 21st.

Taken yesterday. I only see two quite active eyases. Third eyas, in front corner, sleeping? sick?
One of the eyases in particular, whom we shall call Eyas 1, looks the strongest. The third one seems to be (alive) in a front corner of nest. Their pinkish down feathers are turning more light brown and details of beak, eyes, ceres and head are more visible now.

The other day, while I was observing the nest I saw one adult hawk perched at the top of a very tall white cedar tree near the nest tree and with complete visibility of the chicks. It looked small to be the mother hawk (Alba) but it stayed there for a long time, occasionally making a cawing sound, as if calling one of its mates, or reassuring the babies of its presence?  Perhaps it is the father (Matias). He looks darker overall, more chocolate brown, and with rufous areas on shoulders and leg feathers, features that according to the experts characterize adult harris hawks.

Suddenly, it flew north, away from the park and I saw it joined three hawks perched at the top of a huge billboard. Below the billboard there appears to be a garden with tall trees, and most probably food.
Less than five minutes later it returned and perched briefly near the nest tree while the eyases observed.
The pictures that follow were taken last Thursday, May 17th:

Eyases 1 and 2 standing facing each other

Eyases 1 and 2

Eyas flapping wings

Eyas (1?) is quite alert

Eyas (1) observing older hawk

Following is a sequence of pictures of nest taken yesterday, Monday, May 21st. Four days have passed since the last pictures and the hawk chicks do look larger. They're standing and moving more in the nest and are doing more vigorous wing flapping and stretching. 
The adult hawk in the last photo is probably Matias, the father, who lately seems to be taking the role of the sentry, closely guarding the nest while mate Alba and two juveniles are hunting:

Eyas stretching (longer) wings

More wing and body stretching exercises
Is that eyas 2 on right?

Hey little friends! Could they have seen (heard) me?!

Father? watching over kids. Stands guard, does not leave perch

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