The chicks are now 30 days old. Food deliveries to the nest are coming much more frequently now as the parents feed nestlings that will soon be as large as themselves. It seems that the balance of prey has shifted from pigeons to rats over the last couple of days. Has anybody seen mom or dad bring in anything else recently? Red tails eat a huge variety of prey including birds, mammals, snakes and carrion. However this nest seems restricted to a pretty steady diet of rats and pigeons. It does speak to the role that these birds play in controling populations of pest species Over the past 24 hours one of the chicks has lost a huge amount of down and you can now see the body feathers much more clearly.
Answer to question of the day:
Most people went for osprey which is a great guess---osprey are a large bird of prey that feeds exclusively on fish. They can be found nesting on structures all aong the Willamette includig pilings, channel markers and utility poles. They build huge stick nests that can exceed 1000 pounds over time. Many of the big nests that people observe along the river are built by osprey. While the species is increasingly common today, they had pretty much disappeared from the Willamette River system by 1970 because of the impacts of the pesticide DDT. Along with peregrines and eagles, they have made an amazing comeback since DDT was banned in the early 1970s.
However this nest was not built by an osprey---It has a very familiar resident. A pair of red-tailed hawks built the nest in the 1990s.
Red-tail fledgling on nest:
Red-tail nestling in nest--only about a week older than the raptor cam red-tails
Notice the pigeon legs in the upper right corner
Lots of rats for them to eat at this site!
And even a little patch of habitat!