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Nesting Red-tailed Hawk in Boston

June 30th and July 1st, 2010
Of the three chicks, there was the biggest one who started to flex its wings and hop on the railing first. The second one followed within a week. The third was little and 4 weeks late to even flapping its wings. I managed to get them all on the railing on the same day (July 1, 2010). While the older two were practicing pirouettes, the runt was happy to just get on the railing. You can notice even the hair on the head and the maturity of the wings is different in the runt. I tell the chicks apart by the pattern of the spots on their flanks.
Pictures of Boston Red-tailed hawk, Birds of Prey

The Hawk chicks are so much fun to watch. This was just before they started to hunt. In the cowling of the roof, there was a starling nest. The chicks looked in puzzlement as the birds flew in and out of the nest. Then one day I saw this hawk perched itself right next to the opening of the nest (the irregular triangular opening in the cowling). The poor starling waited on top all afternoon. I don’t know how this stand-off ended. Suffice to say, the starlings were not seen in the nest since. Pic from June 30, 2010.
Pictures of Boston Red-tailed hawk, Birds of Prey


Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
I borrowed a 70-300 mm zoom lens from a friend (Thank you!) So here are a few closeups of the Hawk Chicks. They have been growing by the day!
Pictures of Boston Red-tailed hawk, Birds of Prey

They are learning to fly from railing to railing; so much fun to watch … and they don’t falter.
Boston Red-tailed hawk
Boston Red-tailed hawk
Boston Red-tailed hawk
Pictures of Boston Red-tailed hawk, Birds of Prey
Boston Red-tailed hawk

Mr Father stopped by for a few minutes (band on rt foot). Notice how attentively all the chicks are looking at him. A great family shot; wish Ms Mom was here too.
Boston Red-tailed hawk

Here is a closeup of Mr Father Hawk. He checked on his chicks and was gone in less than a minute.
Pictures of Boston Red-tailed hawk, Birds of Prey


Monday, June 21th, 2010
The father hawk came by, quickly checked out the nest and flew away. he was on the rail for about 30 secs.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston
Here’s the father hawk surveying the city from his perch on a nearby building.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Friday, June 18th, 2010
I heard this baby call out to its mother. Very sharp, more like a shrill cat’s meow. It gave about 4-5 calls and then kept looking west from where the father/mother typically appeared.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Love seeing them chilling out together on the rails. By now, I think they know me by name.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

In this series, one of the hawks is stretching and trying out its new wings. What a magnificent sight! The wingspan must have been about 5 ft across. To think that five weeks ago they were mere fuzzy-haired chicks. Simply Amazing!
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
One of the baby hawks on the rail enjoying the breeze. Xe was steady there.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Tempted by a small bird sneaking into a hole in the roof. Soon! 🙂
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

One of the others in the nest was flopping its wings and practicing flying.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

All siblings
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

Two Sisters!
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Boston

For Father’s Day, My Tribute to Mr Hawk for taking care of his young ones!
This morning, the male (father) stopped by the nest, dropped off something, hung around on the rails for a few minutes and then flew away.

What a magnificent bird. It appears the chicks are nearly as large as the adult male. Two of the bigger birds in the nest appear to be female. The third is a smaller male (?) Any experts here? I also notice the father has a band on its right foot.

I gather from the comment by Kim (see comments) and from eye witnesses, that the mother hawk (seen in the earlier pics) was killed on Parkman St last Friday June 10th. She was apparently chasing a pigeon when she ran into a commercial truck and died on the spot. So sad. What a majestic bird she was.

Rest in Peace, Mrs Hawk!
Hope you come back into this world as a more majestic bird, lead a full life and enjoy the complete joys of motherhood.

What is more amazing? That this father is regularly bringing food to the nest for his young ones. He doesn’t hang around, or cuddle with them, but drops off the food and flies away. What a great guy!
On this Father’s Day, Wishing you the very best, Mr Hawk!

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Male Boston

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Male Boston

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Male Boston

I think he spied me in the window.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Male Boston

Then flew away (sorry, blurry pic)
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Male Boston

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
I returned from Mumbai and was glad to see the hawk chicks still in the nest. For a couple of days, I did not see the mother hawk come back and was worried the chicks were abandoned. Then Wednesday am I saw the chicks were eating something bloody. And importantly, the chick had grown tremendously and were about 75% the size of an adult hawk.

Here are a few pics of the baby hawks (apparently baby hawks are called eyas!) feeding what may have been a pigeon. Scroll down to compare these pics with those of the baby chicks about three weeks younger. Amazing, no?

Boston Red-tailed hawk, Chicks

In the nest one of the baby hawks is stretching out its wings.I think the wings are growing by the day and the babies are simply fascinated at this plumage.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Chicks

I think one of the babies spotted me in the window.
Boston Red-tailed hawk, Chicks


May 23rd, 2010
For the last few weeks, a red-tailed hawk has been nesting on the fire-escape of an adjacent, nearly abandoned building. It was fascinating to see the mother stand guard, go hunting and feed the young ones. Every few minutes I’d check the window to see what was up with the hawk. Finally brought my camera in and had the buildings guy open the window, so I could take some pics. Enjoy.

From her perch on the railings, the mother keeps a sharp eye. Last week, I could barely see the tops of the chicks head in the nest, now I can see them bobbing around. Its a huge nest and takes up the entire landing on the fire escape.
Boston, red-tailed hawk, Chicks

With the largest of the chicks. For a sense of scale, the chick is about the size of an adult pigeon. The hawk IS huge.
Boston, red-tailed hawk, Chicks

Once every few hours, the mother goes hunting and swoops down on starlets, pigeons or squirrels. She cleans the meat and feeds the three chicks in turn. Surprisingly while feeding, the chicks are always arrayed in a triangle, are well behaved and don’t fight with each other.
Boston, red-tailed hawk, Chicks

More feeding.
Boston, red-tailed hawk, Chicks

I think the mother spied me in the window. Better call it a day.
Boston, red-tailed hawk, Chicks

Don’t miss these Bald Eagles I was lucky to take pics of in Seward Alaska.

Here, the biggest chick is trying to stretch its wings. Click image to see a larger picture.
Boston, red-tailed hawk, Chicks

Comments

  1. Hi Arun……just came across your blog…….great footage on the red tails………I have a few that are perched on a church steepel in the southend and wonder where there nest is. I think it’s in one adjacent parks. I have seen large nests but haven’t had time to see if they fly over to them. Nice to have some real majestic wild life right here in the city. Love to watch them soar and patrol the skies in the neighborhood…
    Billy

    • Thank you Billy for your interest.
      It is truly a blessing to see these majestic bird make do within our urban environment. how fortunate we are to get a glimpse of the joy of nature,right here in boston.

      I am hoping that those or other hawks will nest back in the fire-escape here. I guess this is the time!

      Thank you and Enjoy the birds.
      Arun

  2. lynn sahaida says:

    What lovely photos. Our offsite MGH location at 185 Alewife Brook Pkwy in Cambridge also had a hawk nest with 3 chicks this year.

    Our 3 chicks had much less room to stretch their wings and move around. The nest was crammed onto a liitle ledge, so the chicks were almost always right on top of one another. Much harder to get a good view of each chick.

    What a dedicated father he is.

  3. As far as I know you can just go to Jon’s link and access the photos. You have my permission and I believe Jon has no problem as the link is open for all hawk lovers out there. I prefer to acknowledge Jon Z Li as photographer. I am glad you like the photos. You should be able to download what you like with no problem.

Trackbacks

  1. […] updates from the Hawk Family outside my office window (from last year). Here is the female woodpecker doing acrobatics at the […]

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