Nestwatching invitation/diary


I will be holding an Open Nest on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m to noon.
Anyone interested in nest-watching should email me, and I will email
back directions. Scopes welcome. Digiscopes particularly welcome!

Who can tell me if raptor babies are fed whole, unregurgitated meat
from the moment of birth. I missed the first few days of this young
'uns life.


5/8,9 Rain. During the rain the feeding intervals may have been less
frequent (harder to hunt?). I think the baby was left alone less,
perhaps to prevent hypothermia. The adult on the nest seemed very
conscientious about keeping the baby warm and as dry as possible. I
worried that the baby might not survive, as I saw a red shouldered hawk
nest fail two years ago, when we had eight inches of rain in April. But
maybe that was an incubation failure. I couldn't see that nest well
enough to know what was going on.

5/10 (a.m.) Sunny day. Saw a parent bring a lizard to the nest. I now
hear peeping when a parent arrives, even without food. Baby appears
vigorous and has a good appetite. It's funny to see a sharply aquiline
profile on such a fuzzy head and body. The bird overall appears to be
about the size and shape of a small crookneck squash.

The baby was left alone in nest for almost 3 minutes. That's the
longest yet. During that time the baby was quite active, spreading its
wings, looking around. It gazed straight at me for a while. The upper
mandible is starting to turn yellowish - a light yellowish-green.
Overall the baby is still grey-white, but I might be seeing a little
bit of reddish fuzz appearing.

(p.m.) Watched with Kayla. An adult brought in a large
rodent, and transferred it to the sitting bird. Sitting bird became
standing bird and fed her/himself, and the baby. Saw long-worm-like
bits of meat. Intestines? Kayla and I both thought we saw something
white fly out of the nest. Projectile pooping? Or was it a moth flying
by? Baby left alone in nest for a couple of minutes. Was it trying to
tear food on its own? Don't think so, but maybe. I suppose the adults
will soon cut back on the tearing and proffering of food so the baby
will have to learn to feed itself.
This baby has to grow so much and learn so much in a mere 39-45 days.
When fledging time comes I hope I can watch around the clock.

5/11 (a.m.) Sunny day. Definitely saw something white ejected from
inside the nest, vicinity of baby. Must have been projectile pooping.
Quite a talent. Big rodent brought in. These parents are so competent!
Why have I never seen a red-shouldered hawk catch anything? I've never
even been aware that one was hunting. Mostly I see them sitting on
branches or flying around and calling. I'll have to watch longer.

To be continued..

Kate Marianchild
Publicity Chair
Peregrine Audubon Society

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