Are chicks hatching at downtown Holyoke’s Red-tailed Hawk nest?

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

Back in March, I predicted that we’d see chicks hatch at the Red-tailed Hawk nest downtown between April 11 and 18.

As we near the end of that window, I checked on the site this afternoon. The hawk on the nest was alternating between the usual hunkered-down position and the sort of half-squat shown above, often holding its wings partially open.

I didn’t observe any feeding behavior to indicate that newborn chicks were already in the nest, but the hawk on the nest frequently looked down between its feet. Was it rolling the eggs, or watching a tiny hawk chipping away at its shell? We should know soon.

One thing that occurred to me today was both this year and last year the hawks built their nest right up against brick walls that get direct afternoon sunlight. I started to wonder if that’s a deliberate choice, as the nest would receive a few hours of reflected warmth each day, giving the eggs a little boost before temperatures drop off at night.


  1. Charles said:

    Greg – great to meed you and see these fantastic photos!

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