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June 3, 2011: Waiting on the First Flights

June 3, 2011: Waiting on the First Flights

One of the young Hawks tests its wings, June 3, 2011.

by Bob Sallinger


Posted on June 3, 2011 at 7:11 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:16 AM

The hawks are now 43, 43 and 39 days old. At this point they are all capable of taking their first flights. Their feathers are still coming in, but they could get airborne. However in prior years the raptor cam red-tails tended to fledge on the late end of the spectrum:

Some information on past flegding dates from this nest:

  • In 2008 the first egg hatched on April 16 and the first bird fledged on May 31.
  • In 2009 the first egg hatched on April 14 and the first bird fledged in June 1.
  • In 2010 the first egg hatched on April 14 and the first bird fledged on May 31.
  • In 2011 the first egg hatched on April 21 and the bird will fledge?

So if they follow the same pattern this year, given that the hatch date was a week later, this would put them flying around June 6 or 7.

Watch Raptor-Cam Live: KGW-Audubon Raptor Cam



A lot of folks have expressed concern about one of the young injuring a leg yesterday whle trying to practice his fying skills jumping to the railing. one does appear to be limping. We will monitor the situation and see if anything needs to be done. It would be very hard to approach nest at this point with flushing the young so if there is a serious injury, any sort of intervention would likely have to wait until the siblings take their first flights. Hopefully no intervention is necessary at all.


Again, I would remind folks that the ledge is really big. Expect to see the hawks disappear and reappear periodically. It does not mean they have flown. There are lots of places for them to get out of sight without taking to the air.

Once they do fly, they do not necessarily come back to the nest. They will start to use the whole landscape perching in trees (to the degree there are trees) and nearby buildings. They may appear again on the fire escape or they may not. They may also spend some time perching on the ground. a couple of years ago I watched one of the young practicing his flying skills by jumping over and over from the ground to a bike rack and back again in the middle of a busy plaza. His sibling perched nearby in a tiny tree about 8 feet above the ground. The parents will find them periodically and bring them food just as they do in the nest. This will go on for several weeks as they learn their own hunting skills. Early on the parents will stay closeby to keep and eye on them although with three young  potentially going seperate directions, they will also spend a good deal of time on their own. foks often wonder how the parents can fund them on a busy landscape. The answer is that the young find the parents---they get hungry and watch for their parent flying overhead and call out to them or chase after them. Folks also wonder how the young avoid getting lost. The answer is that they have imprinted on their local landscape  while they were in the nest. They know the local landmarks and can find their way around.


2010 fledgling Perching on a car during first day out of nest by Bob Sallinger


2010 Fledgline perching on building during first day out of nest by Bob Sallinger