Ya gotta love it when you start your day with Mamma and Pappa B soaring the skies together in what I can only describe as “Joy Flights”. I first noticed this activity on Baby #3’s hatch day. Mamma B hastily took leave of her precious brood to join her life long mate Pappa B in a celebratory “flight of fancy”, and were they FANCY!
Bunny fur for breakfast for the babies! Despite the blustery rain, sleet, hail and gale force winds, it was a polite meal in raptor land. Baby #3 is proving to hold his own and baby #1 is moderating his aggressive behavior a bit. Baby #2 seems a bit neglected in this clip but he has eaten enough to give us a review of raptor nest hygeine! (Sorry for the shutter noise, but weather deemed I shoot from inside.)
Mamma is keeping up with the demanding bunch and Pappa is keeping the coffers full. He got his just reward tonight. After his last delivery to the nest I saw him fly off into the sunset with a huge rabbit dangling from his talons. Lighting unfortunately did not allow me to capture it “on film” to share. After a long day of tending to 3 voracious offspring, Mamma B settled in to enjoy the sunset.
The wind had died down and the sun graced us with its glowing rays as it sank below the horizion. Mamma B turned to see if I was watching too. It was such a peaceful way to end a hectic but blissful day.
Life is Good in Raptor Reverie!
Today is Baby #1’s 4th day with us. Baby #2 is celebrating his 3rd day. And our unexpected Baby #3 is 2 days old today!
Mamma Bird stayed busy feeding her brood, shredding bark to tuck them in with, and maintaining the nest walls to keep her babies safely contained. It was a sunny morning and Mamma’s beautiful tail and expansive wings came in handy to create a raptor umbrella, to shade her precious hatchlings from burning their tender skin in the sun and dehydrating in the heat of the day.
Pappa Bird was tireless in providing for his hungry raptor family. Once a delivery is made he is off again in pursuit of the next victim…I mean, meal. He covers a lot of territory keeping food on the “table”. This slideshow is one flight from the nest. He has a diverse ecosystem in which to hunt.
Here is an education in raptor hygiene. The babies are programmed to tilt their little butts, up and over the edge of the nest, to poop!
Baby #2 not only has rhythm…he has TIMING!
Well, that baby is “pooped” and so am I…until tomorrow. Dreams are sweet in Raptor Reverie!
We now have THREE babies! It’s hard to believe that three days ago, because the alotted hatching time had almost elapsed, I was convinced there would be no hatchlings. Today marks a pretty major event. Since all three eggs hatched, we have exact-day-counts for how long they were in the egg. Every baby was overdue. During the brooding time we had really nasty weather and the parents were buried in snow on the nest a number of times. It was smart of the three eyeas (nestling hawks) to wait!
Red-Tailed Hawks take 28-35 days to hatch. In 2009 2 eggs were laid. By day 37, for the 2nd egg, the parents abandoned the nest.
2011 Baby #1 was laid Tuesday April 19th and it hatched Thursday May 26 on day 38
2011 Baby #2 was laid Wednesday April 20th and it hatched Friday May 27 on day 38
2011 Baby #3 was laid Friday April 22nd (Earth Day!) and it hatched Saturday May 28th on day 36.
There is a nest at NY University, NY, NY that on day 35 experts announced there would be no hatchlings. On day 37 a baby hawk hatched. It made big news being a Miracle! Pretty cool day 38 bore life here! (Hardy stock in the Rocky Mountains!) Here is the link to the NY University Hawk Cam http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/category/hawk-cam-live-from-the-nest/
Our Baby #3 took forever to get out of the egg. He started pecking yesterday. I first saw his little head at about 9:15 AM. Watch the following video closely. Just to the right of the Mamma’s leg you will see that his bottom half is still in the egg.
Our poor little guy has had a rough go of it. No wonder he was stalling coming out into the real world…it seems to be an absolute battle zone. Never before have I witnessed hawk babies behaving so violently toward each other in the nest. He finally shed his shell around 11 AM. Mamma Bird made quick work of moving it out of the nursery and nibbled on it for extra calcium.
The upswing is, Baby #2 is holding his own with Baby #1 (the bully). I think it’s only a matter of time before serious paybacks ensue. I have not seen blood drawn yet. That’s another plus! I would encourage you to hold an open heart toward “the bully”, as afterall, he is just being a raptor!
Pappa Bird was very busy today keeping a full supply of food in the nest. A medium size rabbit was front and center on the nest for all the world to see. ( A little unsettling for me because at some point the face was turned toward the camera and its little red eye and nose were pointed toward the camera.) Later a large squirrel was the main attraction. Raptor reality can get quite gruesome:
Names…I never name the babies. The parents are Mamma Bird and Pappa Bird… (not very original but it works!) I can barely tell the parents apart, let alone little puff balls that later morph into vulturey looking things before they turn into beautiful young adults! But if you would like to suggest a name, please share! I will do my best to apply them properly!
I am proud to announce Baby #1’s arrival at 6:50 something AM Rocky Mountain Standard Time!
While observing Baby #1, I noted one of the eggs appeared to have holes in it. I was wildly excited that not only were we going to have one but #2 was on the way! By the end of the day, nothing had happened and after watching some video footage of the Mamma kicking the “hatching” egg as she hastily exited the nest, I decided the egg was just damaged instead.
So this morning’s surprise was TWO hungry mouths to feed!
The snake was brought to the nest yesterday afternoon. Pappa Bird delivered another snake mid morning. They also feasted on a rodent and a medium size bird.
Late in the day the Bald Eagle created some excitement as he glided through the valley just a little too interested in the new hatchlings…
The Mamma Bird gathers both babies and hatching egg, tucking them under her just like they were all still eggs!