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HAWK STALKING IS BACK, BABY!

OH YEAH!

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(All photos are medium-sized versions, but if you click through to Flickr, you can see larger sizes. They aren't the greatest-quality pictures, unfortunately.)

Okay! So you may remember that we left off last fall with the juvenile redtails finally leaving the area, and the parents become ever more scarce, until a point came where I didn't really see them very much any more. In fact, weeks would go by without seeing them at all.

Yesterday morning, however, I saw a lump like a hawk on top of the Memorial Church weathervane (every day, rain or shine, the first thing I do when I come up out of the T in the morning is check the First Church weathervane, and then when I'm almost at my office, I check the Memorial Church one). I broke out my camera and got a few pics (a false alarm last week turned out to be a crow), and zooming in, was able to see the flash of red tail. Yay!

Today, a co-worker from upstairs remarked that she thought she heard hawks in the Yard on her way in. I was dubious, because the adults are typically not very loud (the juveniles are, but it would be weeks before any juveniles would be flying, if we even had any this year), and we do have scads of bluejays this year, noisy ones, and I know all too well by now that they imitate hawks, the little blue bastards. Still, I thought -- the weather is nice, it's staying light later, so I figured I'd walk up to the vicinity of the old nest and see if I could see anything.

(It may be that others have already documented the Harvard pair renewing their nest, brooding eggs, and hatching chicks. I blame my sieve-like mind for the fact that I keep meaning to check to see if some others have posted about it in the usual places, and then I forget again, and only remember at a time/place when I can't do it right then.)

Getting up there, I could see the nest from below, but couldn't tell if there was any activity.

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Then, looking around, I saw one of the adults on the corner of the building next to the nest tree.

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Eyeing that building, which had a few floors taller than the nest, I decided to see if I could get to one of the windows overlooking the nest. Went in, went up to the 6th floor, and found a lab with windows facing the right way, which was wide open, but deserted. (Well, it is close to finals weeks.) There were two unfortunate parts. One: for some reason, the windows didn't start until about 4.5' or 5' up, and they had sills at least 1.5' or 2' wide. The hell? It didn't make it that easy to get a good angle on things. Two: I think the angle of the sun was hitting the window and creating a bit of glare that I was shooting through. So the pics are even less clear than they could be given the quality of my camera's zoom. I would guestimate that I was 30 or 40 yards from the nest.

But... jackpot!

I could see a parent hawk on the nest, tearing bits off some prey at her feet (couldn't see the prey but the movements were unmistakeable), and then feeding them to three fluffy white chicks!

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^ You can see two chick heads well here, and if you accept that the white blob to the left is another chick, then you can see the third one.

It was VERY windy today. That was making things difficult too. Mostly I was lucky in that the wind was keeping the blocking branches out of my way. But most of the time there was a branch obscuring the third chick. I didn't see it clearly until later, in the videos.

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^ You've got a little something on your beak, right... there.

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Then I took some video! I found a handy box of plastic lab gloves to use as a prop. The reason you don't really hear anything on the audio is because I'm inside a building, of course.

Feeding, feeding, feeding... then fluffing and some preening. The fourth video is after the feeding is largely done, and the chicks get a bit active in the nest, which is also neat. As usual, apologies in advance for the jerky-ness; only part of that was due to the insane wind.






This video is quite short, and has a big fluff on the part of the adult, near the end:




A bit more preening, and the chicks move around more:




After that, I tried to get up to the 7th floor, to see if I could find an angle down into the nest. But you can only get up on the 7th floor with card-swipe access, which I didn't have. Rats.

Then I went into the next-door building, where I knew there was a library with windows that look out near the nest. It was open, so I was able to go in, but you don't get that good an angle on the nest unless you were to climb up onto the windowsill and stand up completely, which I didn't want to do. Yet. So I took what pics I could from there.

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Perhaps I shall go back and ask the librarians if they MIND if I stand up on the windowsill...

Then I left. But I'll be back! There'll be progress to check on, yessirree!

Finally, a pic of the nest from the ground, out by the street, where now that I knew what I was looking for, I could spot the adult hawk, and one of the chicks' heads.

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
jenlev
May. 7th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC)
WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, go you! And did I mention WHEEEEE!!!!!

:::twirly hugs:::

PS. Wow, windy day...meep. ;)
eregyrn
May. 7th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, you can really tell on the video, can't you?

What are you still doing up? ;-)

SQUEEE!!! FUZZY BAAAAABIES!!!
jenlev
May. 7th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
I have no idea what I was doing up that late. ;)

And yup, was windy here too. Made me a bit nervous after those huge storms on Tuesday.

And squee indeed! I hope today goes well. *hugs*
ioianthe
May. 7th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
YAY! HAWK POSTS ARE BACK! :D
eregyrn
May. 7th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
YAY!
veejane
May. 7th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
Ooh. Which tree?
eregyrn
May. 7th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
I posted a map of sightings last year, and marked the nest tree (it's a white pine) with a blue dot, at the bottom of this post:

http://orca-girl.livejournal.com/100168.html

(Look in the Oxford St. area.)
ellenmillion
May. 7th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
Fuzzies! These are wonderful!
eregyrn
May. 7th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yay, fuzzy little chicks!
lyosha
May. 7th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Awesome!!
eregyrn
May. 7th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Man, do I wish I had a better camera...
okojosan
May. 7th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
Hooray for hawk stalking! I had been wondering if the hawks were nesting yet.
eregyrn
May. 7th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
I'd been wondering too, and stupidly forgetting to check. >_
vampyrusgirl
May. 7th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
Yay little fuzzles!!!
gaycelt
May. 15th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Whoohooo!
Great fantastic pictures! I am so glad the hawks are back! They don't migrate down where we are, or perhaps they do come here from your area, but we see them year around. The songbirds have been giving them FITS! Every were I look I see a hawk being dive bombed by a song bird - usually when I am driving and can't take a picture! Hawk watching is back...I follow this instead of watching TV! MUCH better!
gaycelt
May. 15th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
AND OMG!!!
The little chicks are incredible, especially the video of feeding them! Amazing!!! Absolutely amazing!!! WOW! Try not to get shot by angry librarians...or worse yet, they may raise your library fines!
Stay on it...Hawk Stalking is BACK!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )