‘Big Red’ Hawk, New Mother of Three, Invites the World Into Her Home

Newswise — ITHACA, N.Y. – A new nest camera high above a Cornell University’s athletic fields is streaming up-close, high-definition views of a Red-tailed Hawk nest via the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website.

The new video stream puts viewers 80 feet off the ground and right beside the nest, where they can watch the hawks arrive, see them taking turns incubating the eggs, and compare notes on the two birds ¬— the male has a more golden-tawny face and is slightly smaller than the female.

Mom, who delivered her third and likely final egg this morning, has been nicknamed “Big Red” for her alma mater. Visitors to the “BirdCam” site can vote on what to call dad.

To watch, go to: www.allaboutbirds.org

The parents, banded and being tracked as part of a research project through Cornell’s Raptor Program, have raised young here for at least the past four years. They began to make brief return visits to the nest site in late January. In February, researchers at the Lab of Ornithology started to see them arriving with dead sticks and green pine boughs to augment the nest materials left over from last year. As signs of spring began to show, the pair began spending more time at the nest, and the male started bringing prey such as squirrels and pigeons to the nest to offer the female.

On March 16, the female laid her first egg of the season and the pair took turns incubating it over the weekend. She added a second egg on Monday, and then a third just this morning. (The typical clutch size for Red-tailed hawks is two to three eggs.) Once the clutch is complete, it will be about 28 days before the first young hatches. The nest should be active for at least the next two months.

To make sure no one misses a moment of the early stages of this Red-tailed Hawk story, the Lab of Ornithology created a temporary BirdCam website for the world to watch these magnificent birds.

Meanwhile, researchers are building a full-featured BirdCams site that will launch in late April. It will feature many more species, including long-running streams from Lab of Ornithology “NestCams” project as well as new species such as Osprey, Black Vulture and Great Horned Owl.

Media note: The complete URL directly to the live Red-tailed Hawk BirdCam is: www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=2422&ac=ac.

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