Say hello to Athos, Porthos, and Aramis everybody. Our three, thriving, eyas are named after the Three Musketeers in Alexandre Dumas' novel.
Zelda and Scott
Our parent hawks finally have a name! The female is Zelda and the male is Scott after Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.
Photo taken by Miranda Mink
Reference Books on Hawks
Hawk Update 4/27/2015
Our third egg has finally hatched and all three nestlings are happily jostling each other for the food their parents bring them.
Hawk Update 4/23/2015
Our second chick has made an appearance. We should see a third chick appear in a couple of days. For the next few weeks the mother will be sitting protectively over them while the male brings back food for her and the chicks.
Hawk Update! 4/14/15
Here's an update about our Red-Tailed Hawks brought to you by Library staff member Charles Boley.
It's getting close to egg hatching day. We might see the first egg hatch later this week!
The eggs usually won't all hatch at once. There could be a few days between when the first and last nestling appears. The young hawks will be on the nest or on branches near for a few weeks until they can make their first flight. It'll be exciting to see all the activity.
Did you know?
1) Non-migratory Red-tailed Hawks, like ours, often mate for life.
2) Red-tails mate for the first time in their second year.
3) Red-tails do sometimes return to the same nest or tree year after year. Other pairs may not use the same tree, but will nest very close to the original nest.
4) Red-tail territory size can include a roughly round space up to eight miles across, although in densely populated areas, dense with hawks that is, the size will often be a mile or less. Our hawks are part of a very dense Red-tail population. (I found two more active Red-tail hawk nests within two miles of the library.)
5) It's really, really tough to tell male and female Red-tailed hawks apart, tough for humans that is. The hawks don't have this problem. Although the females average larger than the males, there's a lot of overlap. In our pair, the female is a little bulkier than the male, but the size difference is only visible when the hawks are on the nest together. Our male has a bit more rusty color along the neck, but that's not always visible.
6) Both sexes sit on the nest, but the female usually is on the nest more often in a 24 hour period. Our pair swaps up nest duty about every 2-3 hours.
7) The male will often bring food to the female when she's sitting on the nest. The female will only rarely bring food to the male when he's sitting. Many of us have seen our hawks doing this and this behavior gives us a nice clue for identifying the male.
8) Red-tails regularly add green plants and small branches with leaves to their nests. Ornithologists call this behavior greening. Only the hawks know why they do this. Our pair does it every day.
9) A mated pair will hunt cooperatively, setting up ambushes for small mammals like squirrels. Red-tailed hawks are smart.
Red-Tailed Hawk Screaming
Video of a Tucka the hawk screaming over his dinner.
Empty Nest Syndrome
We're sad to say that our hawks have left the nest. We'll keep you updated if they use it again next year.
Hawks at the Library!
The Red-Tailed Hawk
The Red-Tailed Hawk is one of the most common hawks in the United States and ranges from Alaska all the way down to Mexico. Red-Tailed Hawks are large, broad-winged, and almost football shaped birds which are usually spotted on telephone lines or soaring over open fields. Most red-tailed hawks are a reddish brown, like the two nesting at the library, and are easily recognized by their vibrant red tail. They have a varied diet that consists of small rodents, birds, and reptiles and are classified as carnivores. Red-tailed hawks are monogamous which means they mate for life with their partners unless death occurs. The most famous red-tailed hawk, Pale Male, has had a total of 8 wives in his 24 year lifetime.
Red-tailed hawks prefer to nest in the crooks of trees, on cliff edges, or on the ledges of tall buildings. Their nests are made up of sticks, weeds, leaves, and trash. Female red-tailed hawks lay anywhere between 2 to 4 eggs. The eggs are typically white or bluish white with faint to dark brown spots. Both parents incubate the eggs, taking turns laying on them until they hatch. The eggs take anywhere from 28-35 days to hatch. Once hatched the female stays with the young protecting them from weather and potential predators. The male spends his time hunting, bringing prey back to the nest. For the first 4 weeks the female with cut the meat up into smaller pieces for the chicks to eat, afterwards the prey is simply dropped into the nest for the chicks. Chicks first leave the nest at 6-7 weeks but are not strong enough to fly for a couple more weeks. Once they are strong enough to fly, the may continue to remain with their parents for several more weeks.*
For more information on Red-Tailed Hawks check out a book or visit the links below.
*Information taken from: National Audubon Society: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/red-tailed-hawk; North American Bird Eggs by Chester A. Reed; and The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley.
Red-Tailed Hawk Incubating the Eggs
Photograph taken by library staff member Dean Collins
Juvenile Non-Fiction Books on Hawks
Non-Fiction Books on Hawks
Identifying hawks in flight is a tricky business. Hawks from Every Angle takes hawk identification to new heights. It offers a fresh approach that literally looks at the birds from every angle, compares and contrasts deceptively similar species, and provides the pictures (and words) needed for identification in the field.
How Fast Can a Falcon Dive? explores the world of raptors in a way that will appeal to bird lovers and biology enthusiasts alike. In a read-friendly question-and-answer format, and complete with more than fifty-five color and black-and-white images, ornithologist Peter Capainolo and science write Carol A. Butler define and classify raptors, explore the physical attributes of birds of prey, view how their bodies work, and explain the social and physical behaviors of the species—how they communicate, hunt, reproduce, and more.