Race Street hawks take their first flights

One of the hawks tries to get a running start from a set of steps near the nest. (c) Greg Saulmon 2012

One of the adults and the chick that has had a little more success flying this morning sit on a utility pole near the nest.

The young hawks at the Race Street nest fledged early this morning, around 6 a.m.

I showed up shortly after 7 to find one perched on a utility pole across Race Street from the nest. The other had made a few short flights, a Holyoke police officer who was still keeping an eye on them told me — but, that chick had ended up back on the sidewalk below the nest.

Both the male and its apparent new female companion stayed close by, with one perched on the same pole as the more airborne of the two chicks and the other flying short sorties over the canal.

The chick on the sidewalk eventually clambered up a set of steps, took a running start, and made a short flight across Dwight Street. From there, it ducked into an alley and scrambled up a fence — much to the consternation of several female grackles. The grackles took turns dive bombing the little hawk, with one even swooping through the raptor’s legs.

The chick has now been perched on the fence for several hours, waiting out a cold rain.

After a running start, the chick was able to make a short flight across Dwight Street.

One of the young hawks has spent most of the morning perched on this fence in a nearby alley.

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