Hawk cam: chick hatching now!

I’ve sorely neglected animal cams this spring, but alert reader M. May has called my attention to Cornell University’s red-tailed hawk cam sponsored by their Laboratory of Ornithology. It’s live, it’s in color, the female has laid three eggs, and . . . one is hatching right now! If you keep watching, you’ll see it hatch (assuming that mom gets off the egg, which she surely will).


The female Buteo jamaicensis

A Red-tailed Hawk pair has been nesting on a light pole 80 feet above Cornell University’s athletic fields on Tower Road for at least the past four years. In 2012, we installed a camera to get a better look at these majestic birds as they raise their young amid the bustle of a busy campus. So far, we’ve seen the birds bringing prey such as voles, squirrels, and pigeons to the nest.

Big Red and Her Mate

Big Red, Red-tailed Hawk FemaleThe female, nicknamed “Big Red” in honor of her alma mater, is slightly larger, with a darker head, nape and throat, and is banded on her right leg. From banding records we know she was banded in nearby Brooktondale, New York, during her first autumn in 2003, making her nearly nine years old.

Red-tailed Hawk MaleThe male, nicknamed “Ezra” after the co-founder of Cornell University, is banded on his left leg. He’s a bit smaller and has golden-tawny feathers on his face and head, and a paler neck than the female. He is at least seven years old and was first banded in 2006 as an adult bird on Judd Falls Road near the Cornell campus.


  1. alexandra
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    went over, yes, fascinating and gorgeous. One person on chat wants no talk about politics, religion OR EVOLUTION! The first 2, OK, but evolution should not be put in the same basket and should not be unmentionable. Just sayin’

  2. Chris aka Happy Cat
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Incredible! Thanks for the heads-up.

    I was able to get a few screen captures of an egg with a wee bit of beak and mom helping out. I’d love to send them but can’t find a contact email. Is there one?

    • Marella
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Look for Jerry on the University of Chicago web site. His email is there.

      • Chris aka Happy Cat
        Posted April 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Marella.

        Such an obvious answer. I blame my third glass of Shiraz.

  3. Marella
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I got there too late, the mother is asleep at the moment, presumably with the chicks under her.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    has anyone heard the red-tailed hawk scream at night?

    I have been trying to figure out this scream outside my house the past month or so, and best I came up with is the RTH. it is a frightening sound and does not sound like their movie stock sound that everyone knows.

    • Achrachno
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Why not a barn owl?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        I listened to various links from googling this topic. Owls didn’t sound close. However, many RTH’s didn’t either, and the closest sounds did not have a specified origin.

        Since Big Red laid an egg, does that mean this early spring was breeding time? Because I didnt hear this in late winter.

  5. endrekovacs
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    The nest is covered in snow, but the female won’t budge.

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