At Race Street Red-tail nest, chicks are finding their feathers

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

They grow up fast.

Just last Sunday the chicks in the Red-tailed Hawk nest on Race Street were still little balls of down, with wings that hardly hinted at the broad silhouettes we’ll see soaring overhead in the coming months.

Today, though, they looked eager to take flight. One chick appears to be a little older and a little bolder than the other — preferring to hang out at the edge of the nest, taking in the view and even doing a classic head bob when it spotted a squirrel several dozen yards away on the sidewalk. The chick’s wings have grown in over the past week, and this morning it even managed a tiny lift off as it gave them several strong flaps:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

I only saw one of the adults this morning — probably the female. She was sitting at the edge of a building at Open Square when I arrived, but she soon hopped over to a nearby tree, ripped off a leafy branch, and brought it over to the nest. She did this twice while I was there.

A few photos of her below:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

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6 comments
  1. Denis said:

    Beautiful. I’m very happy that you’re documenting this. Do you know if this spot gets used yearly? Maybe next year we can get a webcam on it.

    • Thanks, Denis. It has been fascinating to watch.

      People I’ve talked to in the neighborhood tell me the hawks have been nesting there for several years — a guy on Wednesday said they’d been their about 5 years. I would be interesting in looking into the logistics of a webcam project next nesting season.

  2. Lorrin said:

    Man, those are amazing shots! You told me when I saw you downtown, but what lens are you using? Keep up the excellent work.

    • Thanks, Lorrin!

      That’s the 300mm / f4. I like it because it’s a decent focal length but still small enough to shoot hand-held. And, since it’s a prime, it’s super sharp.

      • Lorrin said:

        Thanks, Greg. It sure is sharp!

  3. Absolutely fantastic blog! We are so lucky to have such birds here in our own back yard. Wonderful photos and great perspective. Thank you.

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