Red-tailed Hawk Story – Week 2

On Sunday, April 5, we had one of our obligatory “snow/ice/rain BR into sticking like glue onto the nest” days. This time it was snow. Ez had a brief stint on the eggs (10 minutes), but otherwise we mostly saw the BR’s back and tail being covered with white stuff. As usual, she kept the eggs warm and dry and there were almost no views of the eggs that day.

BR Covered in Snow. scap by K. Robarts

4/5 BR Covered in Snow. scap by K. Robarts

Video: “Get This White Stuff Off Me!” by elly

4/5 Rare view of the egg on this day while BR stretches. scap by elly

4/5 Rare view of the egg later in the day while BR stretches. scap by elly

Still, by and large, this was “business as usual”. By Monday, temperatures had warmed up and the hawks settled into their routine of trading incubation duties and Ez delivering meals to BR.

Shift Change. Scap by behyve

4/6 Shift Change. scap by behyve

4/6 Ez and 3 eggs. scap by G. Denman

4/6 Ez and 3 eggs. scap by G. Denman

4/6 Yummy! scap by 1Claude

4/6 Yummy! scap by 1Claude

BR on April

4/6 “Who says I don’t like my closeups? I see you, camera!” scap by M. Roy

BR tucking in some bark around eggs. scap by M. Vincent

4/7 BR tucking in some bark around eggs. scap by M. Vincent

BR returns with Bark April 8 by M. Roy

4/8 BR returning to the nest with yet more bark. scap by M. Roy

On Thursday, April 9, viewers realized that Ez had not been seen on the nest since April 8. Fortunately BOGs (our excellent Birders on the Ground) Karel and BOGette caught up with him later – but he still did not make an appearance at the nest. It is likely that very high winds were keeping Ezra away. As Laura Culley put it:

0409 cornellhawks tweets

So BR hunkered down on the nest while Ez hunkered down elsewhere. There was  a collective sigh of relief on Friday, April 10 when BOGs trtldove and christinebshoals spotted Ezra with a very large heavy squirrel that he was intent on bringing to BR. Cam viewers heard and saw BR getting antsy while she waited for her meal, and then she got up from the eggs and went to get her squirrel from Ez. Ez took over incubation duties while BR filled her crop.

Ezra 10Apr by P Layman

Ezra on 4/10, AM. scap by P. Layman from Karels Livestream.

Ezra on 4/10 AM. scap by W. May from Karels Livestream

Ezra on 4/10 AM. scap by W. May from Karels Livestream

"Arabesque". Original BOG photo by trtldove

“Arabesque”. Original BOG photo by trtldove

Go Little Man! Original BOG photo by trtldove

“Go Little Man!” Original BOG photo by trtldove

"Give Me That!" Original BOG photo by trtldove

“Give Me That!” Original BOG photo by trtldove

Ez on incubation duty after squirrel delivery. scap by GulfCoastRita

Ez on incubation duty after squirrel delivery. scap by GulfCoastRita

Video: Afternoon Exchange Recap by elly

...and later that evening, some chippie for dinner. scap by elly

…and later that evening, some chippie for dinner. scap by elly

April 10 Last shift change. scap by Renorabbit

April 10 Last shift change. scap by Renorabbit

It is amusing to me that I had already planned to make a remark in this week’s post about how beloved both hawks are despite what we perceive as their very different personalities. Big Red is seen as the dedicated but sometimes cranky mama who has no qualms about ending Ezra’s incubation sessions with a talon “kick” to the butt. Ezra is seen as the steadfast darling of the nest, always sweet unless you are a mouse, vole, chipmunk, snake, or anything that could be construed as a meal for himself or his family. Well, this happens to be the first week that I heard people being mad at Ez or referring to him as a “stinker”. Of course, we had all been told the reasons he was probably away for so long, but after all the worry it was time to let out a little angst!

Surprise, wonder, and worry are all part of the package of nest-viewing. Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and our BOGs, we are witnesses to so many heart-stoppingly beautiful – and sometimes heart-stopping – moments. What will this next week bring?

Other items of note:

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