Thanks to everybody for all the thoughtful emails and blogs. I know that it has been a rough couple of days...
The Chicks are now 29 days old and we are seeing rapid changes in their behavior. They are now much more active standing and walking around the nest, They are also tearing up food on their own and feeding themselves. They can be seen searching about the nest at various points looking for leftovers. They are startling to lose their down and when they stand you can really see the wing feathers and tail feathers emerging.
In the coming days you will see them wandering in an out of camera range---they will be keeping Frank busy refocusing the camera. The next couple of weeks are going to be about building up their muscles to take their first flights. They will spend a lot of time perched a the edge of the ledge (fire escape) with their back to the world furiously pumping their wings. They will also spend a lot of time taking short hos back and forth to the railings that surround their nest. It can be nerve racking to watch! However this is something that all red-tails do at this stage regardless of whether they are nesting on a cliff, in a tree or on a fire escape. Some species begin this process much earlier than red-tails. Owls for instance often wander out of their nests at a very young age and begin exploring the branches surrounding the nests---there is even a name of this stage of development in owls--they are called "branchers."
Some viewers have commented that the hawks appear to be watching the neighboring windows in recent days. I will do some checking into what is happening in the neighboring office. The original tenants moved out earlier this year and our understanding was that it would remain vacant until summer...but perhaps the hawks have new neighbors already. Thanks for the heads-up.
Answer to Mystery Question # 2: (Seems like I asked this a really long time ago given the events of the weekend!) Several people got this one right. The nest was used by a peregrine falcon. Peregrines typically nest on cliffs but their are records of peregrines substituting cathedrals and castles dating back to the Middle Ages. Today they can be found nesting on bridges and skyscrapers and even on nuclear power plant cooling towers. They do not build stick nests it rather simple hollow out what we call a scrape in the sand and gravel that accumulates on ledges. We have in some cases been able to entice or support their nesting on local structures by putting out box of gravel such as the one pictured in the prior blog. That picture in the prior blog was taken on the Trojan Nuclear Power Plan where a peregrine nested for several years before the tower was imploded. Today more than 5% of the nesting peregrine falcon population in Oregon nests on our local Portland Area Bridges.
Peregrine nest on Trojan Nuclear Power Plant
Peregrine nestlings on Trojan circa 2000--At one time Oregon's Most
Productive peregrine nest site (also known as an Eyrie)
Despite all of its other problems, it made one heck of a peregrine eyrie!
New Question of the Day: Another local bird of prey nest on a manmade structure. These birds took of residence on the Cargill Grain Tower in the 1990s. Any guesses as to what species might be nesting here?
Nest is located in the center of the "X" at the top of the tower