Saturday, May 12, 2012

Three baby hawks in nest

Two days ago, I discovered we have three baby hawks in the new nest at our park*. The day was hot, cloudy, and the breeze was blowing in my favor moving the branch in front of the nest so I could see three tiny cream-colored eyases (baby hawks) all alone in their nest. 

Three tiny cream colored fuzzy bodies appear on left side of nest

I watched the fuzzy bodies for a while and suddenly an older hawk flew into the nest, stood there briefly and took off to perch at a nearby Eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus camaldulensis).

Older hawk (possibly a sibling) flies into nest

Older hawk in nest (Alba?, Mateo?, a sibling?) makes brief visit to nest
The hawk visiting the nest didn't look like Alba (mother), perhaps it was Matias (father), but it didn't look like him either. Could this hawk and another that flew into the park later be the siblings born last winter? (see post 'Hawk Family Has New Members')

After visiting nest young hawk flies to nearby Eucalyptus tree

Same juvenile flies to top of cedar tree and is joined by mate, probably a sibling

A few minutes before rain shower
I couldn't wait any longer to see if one of the parents returned shortly to the nest because it started to rain and I had to leave my 'watch tower'. Down below and sheltered from the rain I waited a bit longer but none of the parents arrived. The two other hawks moved to another cedar tree.  I thought about what the little eyases were doing all alone in their nest while it's raining. Were they getting wet? Do they instinctively seek cover? What happened to Alba? And Matias? Will the three eyases survive?
I'm making a wild guess about the age of these three baby hawks since we don't know when the first egg was laid, when it hatched, and the same goes for the other two eggs, but I'm assuming they're about a week old.  
We saw the first two eggs in the nest during the last days of March (see earlier post 'New Hawk Nest'); incubation period is between 30 to 34 days; and after having watched live and online (for hours sometimes) the development of red-tail hatchlings in nest cams (Washington Square Park, Cornell, Franklyn Institute, Philadelphia; and the fabulous Decorah Eagles nestcam) I'm making this assumption. Harris hawks are larger in size and weight than red-tails. (See earlier post "Nests")
In these situations a live-streaming nestcam is such a valuable tool for studying the behavior of birds. In Mexico, I haven't seen this. It would be wonderful to study this particular family of 'urbanized' harris hawks.

* It is important to note that I'm not revealing the location of this park basically because I do not want to alert possible falconers seeking to capture baby or young hawks for captivity and falconry. And mainly because I know some are alleged falconers, that are not accredited or professional, and take the chicks when they are too young, and most often these die. 

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