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May 29, 2011: Moving towards Fledging

May 29, 2011: Moving towards Fledging

Credit: Krista Bradford

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on May 29, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:16 AM

Sorry not to have blogged for the past week---been tied-up in Salem with the legislative session. One bright spot in this session is that an anti-poaching bill worked on by Audubon and hunting, fishing and animal welfare groups looks like it is on its way to passage. It would strengthen penalties at the state level for egregious poaching crimes including illegal killing of birds of prey. This is the second session in a row that the legislature has increased penalties for poaching

Article on Anti-Poaching Bill:Groups Unite to Increase Fines for Poaching

Watch Raptor Cam Live: KGW--Audubon Raptor Cam Live

The chicks are now 37, 37 and 34 days old respectively....and the egg for those of you who are tracking it, remains an egg, intact, occasionally getting rolled about the nest by the chicks, sometimes buried, sometimes visible, often stood upon and sat upon...it is amazing how durable those eggs are!

We now could be less than a week out for fledging (first flights). Red-tails typically fledge around 45 days of age--it can be earlier or later. The Raptor Cam birds have typically fledged later. They have a lot of space to move around on the fire escape and can even go down levels. This gives them room to exercise and work their muscles with less risk of falling prematurely. This is a good thing--the later they fly, the more developed and strong they will be when they actually do take to the air.

Don't worry if they are out of sight on the video feed--there are many parts of the fire escape that you cannot see on camera including the area immediately below the camera. They will start to spend a lot of time moving about and exploring. Also watch for them jumping from the nest to the railing and back again. This is really the equivalent of the birds moving about on the branches if they were nesting in a tree.

If you have a television with really good resolution you may notice that the nestlings have different eye color from their parents. The young hawks have almost yellowish eyes which gradually turn a reddish brown as they age. Changes in eye coloration is a common phenomenon in bird species. Cooper's Hawks and Sharp Shinned Hawk eyes start out yellow and turn orange and then blood red over a period of years. Osprey eyes go the opposite direction going from red as juveniles to yellow as adults. Crow eyes start out blue and turn darker. Scientists do not completely understand the evolutionary significance of these changes but it is believe to be related to help birds determine that age of potential mates.

Young and Egg Photo By Kristya Bradford

Three young in nest--Photo by Krista Bradford

 

 

 

 

 

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