Monday, April 28, 2014

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

This Sharp-Shinned Hawk hit a window on our sunroom today.  We found him on the ground.  He was still alive and I picked him up in a towel.  A few minutes later he started to come around and he seemed okay when we flew into the trees. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Red-Shouldered Hawk Nest

Discovered the Red-Shouldered Hawk nest on the property yesterday.  I thought they were close because of all their activity around the stream area.   He/She was not happy that they were discovered!  You can just see her head at the top of the nest.  

Red-shouldered Hawks are monogamous, and most individuals breed for the first time when they are two years old. Pairs usually remain in the same territories and reuse the same nest-sites for many years. Courtship lasts about 18 days, and during this time “circling flight” and “sky-dancing” displays are performed. In their circling flights, pairs soar together with their wings spread and their tails fanned. The male and the female soar toward and then away from each other, and one member of the pair sometimes soars higher than and dives on the other. Males “sky-dance” by repeatedly making a steep dive and then soaring upward in a spiral. Red-shouldered Hawks are particularly vocal prior to incubation, and they call repeatedly while engaged in courtship flights. - Red-shouldered Hawks usually nest in deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. Nests are typically built at a crook of the main trunk in deciduous trees, more than halfway up the tree but within the canopy. 

Red-shouldered Hawks lay one clutch per year. Replacement clutches are sometimes laid if the first clutch is destroyed. The species usually lays three to four eggs. Nest success varies overall, and the timing of nesting and food availability are important factors. Predation is also a threat to nesting success. Great Horned Owls and raccoons prey on eggs, young, and adult Red-shouldered Hawks. Red-tailed Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, martens, and fishers are also potential predators. - The eggs are incubated for about five weeks, mainly by the female. Incubation begins before all the eggs are laid; therefore, clutches hatch asynchronously. After the eggs hatch, the female broods the nestlings continually for a week, but thereafter spends increasingly less time brooding. While the female remains at the nest, the male is responsible for providing food. The male brings food to a spot near the nest and then calls for the female, who accepts the prey and delivers it to the young. Beginning several weeks before the young fledge (leave the nest), both the male and the female hunt for food for the young. The nestlings are able to tear apart food when they are about 18 days old. Young fledge when they are between 35 and 45 days old. By the time they are seven to eight weeks old, the fledglings begin to capture their own prey. At first they catch mainly insects, but after several weeks they start to catch vertebrates as well.