Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Red-tailed Hawk's Nest on the Little Miami Trail

About a month or so ago, two Red-tailed Hawks were making a huge ruckus high up in a Sycamore tree on the trail, calling and crying out incessantly. Usually I only see hawks soaring overhead as I catch glimpses of them through the branches, so this was new behavior and I wondered what was up. Trying to find an opening in the branches to see what these birds were doing took a little time, but suddenly I saw a flash of pale red, other movement, and then a huge nest! Wow! No wonder they were squawking. They were building a home. Since then, I checked the nest every time I walked past, but I never saw any activity, so I assumed the couple must have abandoned it for other digs. But this weekend when I looked up, I saw something, and when I zoomed in...there was a head buried deep among the sticks!


Mama Red-tail was silent, nonmoving, and perfectly camouflaged in her nest. If I hadn't used my binocs, I never would have noticed her (and I wondered if she or papa had been sitting up there, hidden, for the past month). I watched for a while to see if papa would show up, but he didn't, so I continued to walk on up the trail, hoping to see a Scarlet Tanager or a few Indigo Buntings at their normal hangout. No tanagers were about, but I did see an Indigo Bunting, and even better--as I walked past the nest on my way back, I looked up and saw a baby! I couldn't believe it. A fluffy, white, large-eyed cutie was looking over the edge of the nest, no doubt waiting for mama or papa to bring it some food.

This gives you an idea of just how huge this Sycamore 
tree is. It towers over the other trees. Check out the size of 
the branches holding the nest. They are larger than most 
trees' trunks! The nest is huge, and this is just one part of it. 

Little baby get back in that nest! 
Mama will be home soon with dinner.

...and let's zoom in once more. Look at those precious eyes--
huge and round...and far-seeing, a fluffly, soft, downy eyas 
sitting atop a pile of sticks. Watching, listening, waiting.

I hung around for a while hoping mama or papa would return with some food, but neither did. Eventually, the baby started sinking back down in the nest, so I left. About 10 minutes into the return trip, I decided to turn back to see if either of the parents had flown in with a meal, but neither had, and baby must have nodded off to sleep, because once again the nest looked empty. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next week!


22 comments:

holdingmoments said...

Great observation Kelly, and well done on finding that nest. That's going to be really exciting following their progress.
That little chick looks so lost sat amongst those sticks. Great capture.

NatureStop said...

kelly,thanks for visiting NatureStop.Really loved the little chick.We agree with holdingmoments taht following there progress is going to be exciting:)

Midmarsh John said...

Great photos of the nest and the chick, Kelly. What an exciting experience. Look forward to progress reports in the coming days or weeks.

Sue said...

Oh, how wonderful. You certainly have an eye for nature.

Kallen305 said...

So cute Kelly!!!! I could just look at them all day. I love how fluffy their downy feathers are.

Jayne said...

Oh. My. That is amazing that you got to see the little hawkling!! Can't wait to see photos as he/she grows. :c)

Chris Petrak said...

very nice!

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
Very nice observation. How lucky you are to be able to detect all these nests around!!! Well done.

NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful photographs of something most of us only dream of seeing. I'll be looking forward to more.

Roy said...

Good catch, Kelly! There's a Red-tail nest across the street from a buddy of mine, and we watched Mama working on it, but it's been awhile since we saw any activity. We think maybe she found a better spot where the nest wasn't so open; this one is easy to see, and I think Mama may have been a little nervous about Crows.

Montanagirl said...

Those are some great photos! Very nice series. How lucky for you.

ShySongbird said...

How lovely Kelly, what a little sweetie! I hope it got some supper eventually, it will be interesting to see how it progresses.

Ginnymo said...

How cute!! I think it's wonderful that you can see that nest and get such a good photo of that baby!! I hope you get to see more before they fly off.
Are you having any trouble getting into my blog?? Some are. It's because I changed the URL a bit I think. So I guess my followers might have to stop following me and then add me again under the new URL.

Tutta la Storia said...

Do promise you'll keep up with photos of this chick!!!

Cicero Sings said...

What an experience to not only see the baby hawk but to get such good pictures!

hip chick said...

Wow! What wonderful photo's. And you have so much patience to capture them.

Shellmo said...

Such a cute white fluff peeking out of that nest - loved these photos!! I hope you are able to post more photos of this cute little guy (or girl)!

The Early Birder said...

Great observation Kelly and a FAB close up of the little one. The bark on that tree looks very similar to Eucalyptus which also grows very fast over here.

Dave Lewis said...

Great shots!
Send one of those Hawks up here to help with my Chipmunk 'problem'!

E said...

How beautiful the baby...awesome!
Great pics, Kellly, congrats and thanks for the great story. Hugs.

Alan said...

Very neat Kelly! I love watching red-tails. They seem so distinguished. The little chick is precious!

E said...

Great view of the babies, beautiful, a lovely visit and lovely pics. Congratulations, very good timing.
Hugs.