The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has begun the live streamed web cam following the nesting activities of returning Red-tailed Hawks, Big Red and Ezra. Once again, they are high up in one of the field lights on the Cornell University Campus. It appears to be a slightly different location this year.
Last spring I spent WAY too much time sitting at my monitor screen watching these wondrous birds raise three nestlings. Although I tuned in today at a much earlier point in the process, I still (along with everyone else) missed the laying of the first egg. It is now in the nest, presently under (literally) the supervision of Big Red, the mama hawk. My first screen shots accompany this post. Two are of the mama bird, Big Red. Isn’t she beautiful?
For a look at this incredible family (there are videos of both parents on the nest and the newly laid egg) go to: http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/16/Red-tailed_Hawks/. Feel free to support the Lab with a donation. They do great work. Soon the Great Blue Heron pair should return to their nest. Equally impressive nesting at the Sapsucker Woods Pond will occur.
It doesn’t feel like spring today in Ithaca, NY. The weather forecast showed clear skies, but for most of the morning we had snow flurries. Still feeling the cold temperatures of winter, I somehow feel hopeful that spring is not far away. Last year we had an unusually warm, early spring which prompted everything to bloom too early. As is often the case in this area, spring isn’t really a given until May. Last year we had multiple hard frosts which damaged crops and trees; our apple tree and lilac bush never produced anything more than leaves. Both the Red-tailed Hawks and the Great Blue Herons nested through all this crazy weather. Snow, freezing or hot temperatures, rain and wind did not deter these parents from their duties. I watched all of the nestlings fledge and was left both happy and sad that it would be months before I would be able to see them again.
The time has come! Don’t miss it.