Jun 1, 2012

This observation is the continuation of a previous post. The previous article can be found here: Red-tailed Hawk – Nest Update 6

I’ve been following this Red-tailed Hawk nest on a weekly basis for several weeks now. On my last visit, it appeared as if the young hawk may have been ready to fledge. I decided to come back a couple of days early just in case, and I was glad I did.

I arrived at the nest site just two days after my last visit. Neither adult bird was present at the time. I quickly checked the nest and found it also to be empty. I then scanned the rest of the antenna platform and there was still no sign of the juvenile hawk.

There are a lot of trees and bushes around the buildings below the cell phone tower, so I decided to give the area a quick once over to see if I could turn up the juvenile hawk. I checked every tree, and looked behind every bush, and simple could not find the young red-tail.

I resolved myself to the idea that I had missed the fledging and decided to head back to my truck. That is when I finally saw him. The sneaky young hawk was perched atop the light post I had parked under when I pulled in! No wonder I missed him!

This picture will give you some idea of how close the lamp post is to the nest in the cell phone tower. It’s a long drop. I was concerned about the fledgling’s safety because of the heavy automobile traffic in the area.

Another view of the relationship between the lamp post and the cell phone tower. The hawk’s position is indicated by the red arrow.

This is why I did not see the juvenile hawk when I arrived. I had parked right underneath him!

He was lying still when I first found him and I was concerned that there might be something wrong. Soon enough, though, he lifted his head and began to preen. A good sign. Then he stood and began to exercise his wings.

The lamp post the hawk was perched on has four light attached to it. Each light is contained in a big metal box, and the boxes are arranged in a four corner configuration. The young hawk used this arrangement to practice his flying. While I watched, the juvenile red-tail entertained me by making short flights from light to light to light. Very dramatic and very captivating!

This young bird will soon be making his own way.

Just as I was about to leave the adult female showed up and landed at her usual spot high atop the cell phone tower. There was no interaction between her and the juvenile while I was on sight.

The juvenile hawk kept a careful eye on me as I got in my truck to leave. My truck was parked directly underneath the lamp post the fledgling was perched on.