As we head into nesting season for Red-tailed Hawks, there’s been an interesting development with the pair that made their home on a Race Street fire escape last year.
A few months ago I noticed a new nest on a nearby industrial building, and I’ve been waiting to see if the hawks would relocate there this year. Sure enough, at the end of last week fellow birder Stephanie Pierce spotted an adult Red-tail on that new nest.
The next morning, though, I spotted two adults on last year’s nest. Then, this morning: one adult on the new nest.
So, it appears the hawks may be visiting both sites, deciding on which will be most suitable.
People in the neighborhood have told me that the nest on the fire escape has been there for about four or five years. But, the pattern may have been disrupted when the female of the pair died last spring. The male took on a new mate just weeks before last year’s brood fledged, and this will be their first nesting season together.
Is it possible that they’ve decided to stay in the neighborhood, but in a slightly more secluded location? When I saw them on the old nest, were they actually gathering nesting material to move to the new location?
We’ll see in the weeks to come — last year the female of the pair began incubating her eggs somewhere between March 7 and 15.
The visits by the Holyoke Red-tails to these nesting sites also coincide with activity over at the Cornell campus, where the hawks that star in a live web cam began visiting their nest last week. Here’s a clip from the Cornell cam from Feb. 13: