UPDATE, Friday morning: Some time between dusk last night and dawn this morning, the wayward hawk found its way back up to the nest.
A check on the Red-tailed Hawk nest this afternoon found some drama: one of the young hawks found its way to the lower level of the nest platform and couldn’t figure out how to get back “upstairs”.
I watched for about two-and-a-half hours, and when I left as it started to get dark the little one was still separated from its siblings. The adult hawks know it’s down there — the mother checked on it several times — but it also missed two feedings during the time I watched.
The stray little hawk seems reachable in terms of the adults delivering food, but the spot it’s in doesn’t allow for the jump-flapping exercise necessary to keep building the strength for fledging.
Of course, if the hawk is already strong enough, fledging may just be the next logical step — and the only step out of this predicament.