Sunday, April 22, 2012

Red-Tailed Hawk Cam at Cornell

The past couple of weeks I have been following the live stream from a Red-Tailed Hawk nest at the top of a lightpole on the campus of Cornell University (in Ithaca, NY). I don't let it run all the time (I could never afford the bandwith, for one thing!) but like to check in from time to time.

It's been "on" a little more often today on my PC, because at least one of the "hawklets" seems to have chosen Earth Day as a wonderful day to be born. It's been a real treat watching the progress of the hatching whenever the mom, "Big Red", deigns to get off of the eggs long enough for us to grab a quick view. It's at the point now where I can hear the peeping of the baby (or babies) when the eggs are uncovered.

Sometimes the dad, "Ezra", takes a turn on the eggs, although this has become far less frequent the closer we get to the actual hatching. Mostly he pops into the picture from time to time, bringing food or a little more material for protection for the babies.

Here is a screen shot taken earlier today by one of the site's moderators which clearly shows the imminence of the hatching of the egg in the foreground. You can also see a small pip starting to show in the farthest egg, while the middle one has no visible signs yet. The three eggs were laid a couple of days apart, so this makes perfect sense.

This shot was taken by the same mod a bit earlier in the day. Both parents are in the nest and a "changeover" is taking place (the dad was about to take a short turn on the eggs):

This is a pretty great shot of Big Red sitting on the eggs not too long ago:

Looking at you

For other great shots of the progress, take a look at this set of screen shots which have been uploaded to Flickr by one of the regulars. Also on Flickr, there is this group pool of pictures available for public consumption. And things are starting to happen more quickly on the nest: while I was typing this post I had to tab back to the live cam 4 times because I could hear the sounds of the almost-hatchling as the mom adjusted herself on the eggs. Here is the most recent progress as of this posting:

Very cool indeed.

********Update April 23, 11:40 AM********

Here is a video of that "kiss" from yesterday. Fast forward to the 4:20 mark if you want to see it. I was lucky enough to see this live! Listen to that peeping, too. Good stuff!


  1. I'm so glad we live in an age where we can see such cool things, from a great distance away, and not disturb wildlife. It gives me such a huge appreciation for animals, and yes, the planet.

    Poor Big Red - I checked the nest this morning and she's sitting in several inches of snow!

    1. I think the snow around her isn't so much of a problem - it's terrific insulation, in any event. But the freezing rain she was enduring the last time I checked on her is just awful. :(

      Of course, a lot of the people in their chat stream on that site don't share your enthusiasm for "not disturbing wildlife", unfortunately. So many people asking "why can't you put a cover over the nest??"



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