Young hawks preparing to leave the nest


Things have been busy high above Prince Street these days. The young Coopers Hawks are getting ready to leave the nest. Shooting the nestlings is hard, since there are only two small places a photographer can stand and catch a glimpse of the birds, and the wind-caused movement of the branches often makes use of a tripod impossible.

In this first shot, we see one of the young flexing wings, getting used to all those muscles that will soon take him [or her] aloft.

26 June 2010, 600mm, 1/800 sec, f6.3

In many ways this second shot is more interesting, since it’s the first time esnl has spotted one of the young outside the nest [which is hidden by the leaves to the right]. One of these days they’ll not be sitting away from the nest but flying, a time anticipated with both joy and sorrow.

26 June 2010, 600mm, 1/100 sec, f6.3

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6 responses to “Young hawks preparing to leave the nest

  1. Joan Damron

    This spring, we watched a male Cooper’s Hawk build a nest in an oak tree in our front yard (we live in a wooded area). We watched the female lay in the nest, then were thrilled to see her perch above the nest as 4 babies began bobbing up and down. We watched her get food and feed the babies from time to time. We had a spotting scope positioned to watch their every move. Unfortunately, this morning, we realized the nest was completely empty. The babies were unable to fly yet, so we fear they were plucked out by some sort of predator in the night. The nest is intact and there was only some small fuzz on the ground below as was normal since they were just starting to get their feathers, so we doubt there was some sort of fight from a raccoon or possum. Our guess is an owl. Very disappointing and sad. We were looking forward to watching them perch on the branches around the nest. Doubt we’ll get another chance to watch such an amazing site.

    • Sorry to hear about your nestlings. I was worried here because a raven pair is nesting nearby, and they’ve been known to prey on young hawks, but our three made it. They’ve been amazing creatures to to watch, though our view here has been from ground level up to a nest very high in the branches so we weren’t about to see the young ‘uns till they were able to peer over the edge of the nest. Once they took flight this last week, they were already catching other birds within a couple of days. Hopefully your pair will be back next year.

  2. Joan Damron

    Right. Ours were about 45 feet up in the V of an oak tree. They were just big enough to see them sitting in the nest and raising up to flap their wings. They were still just white with black markings. We had thought the male was supposed to bring the female and the nestlings the food, but she had been leaving regularly to get food herself. She must have left them too long this time. Do they tend to stay in the same area? We’ve noticed this type of hawk over the last several years and wondered if they were the same ones we had nesting this year. We’ll keep an eye out next year…maybe she’ll reuse the nest. Could we be that lucky? :)

    • This is at least the second year here for the Berkeley pair, and I understand a couple of other pairs in town have been in the same area longer. So there’s a good chance they’ll be back.

  3. Is there anyway to insure that the hawks don’t come back? This is our 1st time having a nest in the tree next to our patio. Because the hawks are there we don’t have any of the cardinals, bluejays, finches or robins that we used to enjoy. Plus our patio and garden is coated with the hawks poop. We have spent a lot of time and money on our patio and plants and they look terrible now. What a mess!!

    • Short of cutting down or radically trimming the tree where they’ve nested, anything you might do to keep hawks away would also deter the other avian critters. I find the hawks magnificent to watch, as do all our neighbors.

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