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May 28, 2010: What happens to the birds after they fledge

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Updated Friday, May 28 at 2:30 PM

The hawks are now 45 days old. As of 11 pm on Friday, both birds were still on the fire escape. They move in and out of camera range but neither bird has yet attempted to fly.

Lots of folks have asked about the hawks long-term relationship with their parents. The short answer in come late summer or fall, the young will move on and the relationship will end. They will spend a couple of years wandering before finding mates and territories of their own. That could be close by or hundreds of miles away.

The fledglings will hunt instinctively on their own. However the parents will also provide food for several weeks until they become proficient. Oftentimes they will start chasing things as soon as they leave the nest--oftentimes they will go after anything that moves...I have watched young hawks chasing flies and even pouncing on flowers and small plants as they wave in the breeze. I have also seen them chase prey such as great blue herons that are far beyond their size range. A couple of days ago they were pouncing on the plastic bag and rubber strip that are in the nest. They will also dogfight with each other which is very cool to watch.

Folks have also asked about whether we know what has happened to raptor cam red tails from prior years. the answer is "no." The only way we would know is if we got a band reported from one of the birds that I banded. Band reports are pretty rare. The bands we use can only be read in hand so the bird either has to be trapped by a biologist or comes into captivity because it is injured or dead. Better then that we have not heard anything! We are leaning much more than ever before about dispersal of young and migration because of small transmitters that have been placed on birds that allow us to track them over time. We have talked about one day potentially doing some sat elite tracking of our raptor cam birds. However the priority for next season is getting a microphone into the nest.

Finally a reminder that the birds are moving around a lot so expect that they will periodically be out of camera view even if they are still in the nest. Frank and his crew at KGW control the camera remotely from the studio and try to give us a variety of views...but the optimal view is changing all the time....and the camera is not monitored all the time. Thanks to Frank and his crew for a fabulous job throughout the season!

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