Both hawks finally took to the air today. Several Raptor Cam viewers reported at least one of the birds flying from the nest around 2:00 pm. I went down to the nest site around 5:30 this evening and from what I could see from the ground it does indeed appear empty. The adults were quite active and based on their activity, I was able to locate one of the fledglings on a nearby rooftop. The adults appeared to be moving back and forth between buildings in the vicinity of the bird that I located and several buildings further to the east so I suspect the other fledgling was probably just a couple of blocks away.
PHOTOS: Hawks fly the nest!
Some folks worry about the fledglings becoming separated from their parents or lost. This is unlikely to be an issue. The parents will stay close by their young. In addition, the young hawks have had nearly seven weeks to study the surrounding landscape from their nest so they shouldn't have any trouble finding their way home even if they fly some distance on their first flights---There are plenty of landmarks to guide them. Finally, they can also look up and see their parents flying overhead--and call to them---or even follow them. The next several days will be all about the young hawks exploring their world and then reconnecting with their parents.
Last year the fledglings did return to the nest ledge several times during the first few weeks after fledging so it may be worth tuning in periodically. I will keep blogging and posting pictures about the red-tail's post fledging adventures. Last year there was actually a lot to tell between the time they left the nest and early July---the birds had quite a series of misadventures ranging from flying into windows to wandering into a hotel lobby. I will also post other bird related news and viewing opportunities until Frank tells me folks are no longer tuning in.
For folks that want to learn some more about raptors and support a good cause in the process, I will be leading a benefit cruise for Audubon's Wildlife Care Center down the Willamette River next Saturday afternoon on the Sternwheeler Rose. This is our Second Annual Peregrines and Pinot benefit. It would be great to see some of you there!
For those of you who are moving on, I just want to say thank you. This is my fourth year doing the Raptor Cam blog and it is always a blast. I really appreciate all the thoughtful questions and comments and seeing all the excitement and interest that these hawks nesting in the middle of our city generate. I also want to thank Frank Mungeam and the crew at KGW for doing an outstanding job as always. Thanks to Paige Beardsley and the residents of her building who have graciously hosted the hawks on their fire escape for the past four seasons. Thanks again to our anonymous donors who funded the amazing Raptor Cam. Finally thanks to the hawks who let us look in on their lives over the past several weeks!
One last reminder to take the time to stop and look and listen around your own yards and neighborhoods---there are birds going through the same amazing process that these red-tails just went through all around us. We just sometimes tune it out in the chaos of our daily lives.
The following are some shots of one of the fledglings early in the evening of her first day exploring her suddenly much larger world:
Fledgling Red-tail in flight
Fledgling Red-tail Perched
Fledgling Red-tail turning to watch mom flying by
Watching the Sunset