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February 10, 2012: Welcome to Raptor Cam 2012

February 10, 2012: Welcome to Raptor Cam 2012

by Bob Sallinger


Posted on February 10, 2012 at 4:42 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:02 AM

Welcome to the sixth season of Raptor Cam!

Raptor Cam is a joint effort KGW NewsChannel 8 and the Audubon Society of Portland. Since 2007 we have been able to provide viewers with a direct look into the nesting cycle of a pair of red-tailed hawks that nest on a downtown Portland fire escape.

My name is Bob Sallinger and I am the Conservation Director for the Audubon Society of Portland. I will be blogging and also posting on the Raptor Cam Facebook Page about the red-tails and their activities throughout the season. I will also provide information on cool bird related activities and events that are occurring in and around Portland. Please send me your questions and comments. In past years we have received a lot of great questions and commentary from viewers and your direct participation makes it all the more interesting.

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What to expect:

Over the past five years the Raptor Cam Red-tails have hatched eleven young. We have had the opportunity to watch as the parents carefully built their nest. We have seen the eggs being laid and watched as they hatched. We have watched as the young seemed to literally grow before our eyes and observed the drama of their first wobbly flights. We have also seen young succumb to disease and suffer collisions with cars. It is all part of life in the city for these birds.

In past years some people have wondered if we will intervene if their are problems in the nest--for example a nestling becomes sick or the eggs fail to hatch The answer is "no, we will not interfere." Although we have a direct view into the nest, we will respect the bird's unique abilities to raise and care for their own young we will let nature take its course.

Over the next couple of weeks, activity at the nest will be intermittent. In past years, the red-tails have not laid their eggs until early March. Between now and then they will be adding to the existing nest, periodically bringing in materials to prepare the structure for the eggs. Although they have fidelity to previous nest locations, it is altogether possible that they will choose a different site as well in which case this could be very short Raptor Cam season...Keep your fingers crossed!


Nesting Chronology:  

The following is an approximate chronology of what to expect over the next several months. However the hawks don't read these posts and actual nesting chronologies can vary significantly.

 Courtship and Nest Building--January through early March

Egg Laying--March (Eggs are typically laid 24-48 hours apart and there can by up to four eggs

Incubation--Eggs are incubated from 28-32 days

Hatching--Mid April

Nestlings--April, May (The young remain in the nest for about 44-46-days)

Fledging---Late May or early June (The young take their first flights when they are about 44-4

6 days old)

Post Fledging--June-August (The young remain in the vicinity of the nest for several weeks perfecting their hunting and flying skills)


Past Nesting Chronologies:

Egg Laying (Date of First Egg):

2007    March 16

2008    March 8

2009    March 6

2010    March 3

2011    March 11


Hatching (Date of First Hatch):

2008    April 16

2009    April 14

2010    April 14

2011    April 21

Fledging (Date of First Flight):

2008    May 31

2009    June 1

2010    May 31

2011    June 12


I look forward to sharing the season with you all. Please do send me your questions and comments!


Raptor Cam 2011