May 23, 2012

This observation is the continuation of a previous post. The previous article can be found here: Red-tailed Hawk – Nest Update 4

This morning when I arrived at the hawk’s nest I found the female sitting high atop the antenna mast keeping a vigilant watch. The lone eyas in the nest below was sitting pretty.

This young bird has progressed quite nicely over the time I have been monitoring the nest. He has gone from a white, fluffy, puff ball to quite nearly taking on the coloration and form of a full grown Red-tailed Hawk.

Early in the monitoring of this nest there was some question about how many baby hawks it contained. As of today, I can say positively that there is only one eyas. A quick review of my older photographs shows that there probably never was more than just this one chick.

A short time later, the adult male returned to the nest with a food delivery for the young hawk. The male landed on the nest and simply handed the chick the prey item. After the food hand-off the adult male took to the air unceremoniously and left the immediate vicinity heading north.

The young eyas proceeded to feast on what appeared to be a rat of some kind. The capable young hawk required no parental assistance with this meal, and was completely able to feed himself. The video below illustrates this.

Next, I changed my vantage point to directly under the nest. I had hoped to get some picture of the male returning to the nest with more prey from this unique point of view.

Unfortunately, the male did not return while I was on site. I did get a couple of pictures of him soaring by the nest at extremely high altitude, but he did not stop.

Instead, it was the female I was able to photograph landing at the nest. After a long wait, and just seconds before I was about to give up, a bold Northern Mockingbird attacked the female hawk and drove her from her perch.

The mockingbird chased after the Red-tailed Hawk for a short distant before breaking off the pursuit. Free of her persecutor, the female hawk immediately returned to the antenna mast where I was ready to take her picture.

This article is continued here: Red-tailed Hawk – Nest Update 6