Friday, April 30, 2010

A day in the life of the eyasses - eat, eat, eat, sleep

The eyasses are now over a week old, and grow bigger and stronger each day. The parent hawks are doing a superb job satisfying their offsprings' insatiable hunger.

Here are the eyasses lined up waiting for the next morsel. Yesterday's sun created some glare which has washed out the color in these images.

The tiercel not only brings the food to the nest, but he helps the formel feed the eyasses. Here we can see the difference in size between the parents.

The eyasses wait patiently for the next beakful. Because the tiercel is doing such an excellent job bringing food to the nest, we have so far not seen too much pecking and food-aggression amongst the siblings.

The parents also share the food generously with each other.

Despite his almost non-stop hunting activity, the tiercel still finds time to bring back some greenery as well to the nest. What a guy!

Though the larder is overflowing with food, here comes another mouse.

Because the third egg hatched almost two full days after the first two, that eyass (in the middle below) is slightly smaller than the others, and sometimes has to wait till its siblings can eat no more before it gets its turn to be fed.

Here is the formel reaching around the others to feed the smallest one.

The tiercel is a devoted parent. Not only is he hunting non-stop for his family, but when he brings the prey to the nest, he also helps tear it up into tiny morsels and then carefully feeds the babies.

In an extraordinarily tender moment, he also fed the formel, making sure that she was getting her share of the food.

When everyone has eaten, the haggards (parent hawks) take a break from the nest, leaving the eyasses crashed out in another food coma among the gory remains of their rabbit lunch.

A family portrait!


  1. Wonderful post and pictures. I was lucky enough to be watching when this little family dinner took place. You could hear a collective sigh among the Hawkoholics watching when the tiercel reached out and placed a bit of food in the formel's beak.

  2. This is fabulous information. Thank you!

  3. I tried looking up the word "formel" but I can't find it. Do you have a source or reference link? Thank you.

  4. Anonymous - Check out Della's post from June 8, 2009. I think that's the first time we were introduced to John Blakeman, a licensed Master Falconer located in Ohio. His knowledge has added much to this great blog, including setting us straight on the proper terms for all the hawks, big and little.

  5. "Formel" is an older, not much used falconry term, from several centuries ago. But it's in the Oxford English Dictionary, the authoritative reference for all words English.

    LIke all of the other ancient terms, such as "tiercel" (male), "haggard" (full adult), and "eyass" (baby hawk," "formel" works perfectly.

    A female hawk is not a "hen," just as a baby hawk is not a mere "chick."

    Again, the OED is the reference.

  6. brilliant. one of the followers on ustream gave us the origin of eyas
    out of the nest, french, etc

  7. Last year there was talk of putting GPS tracking devices on this set of eyeasses to see how far afield they have to go to find their own territories once they're on their own. Does anyone know whether there is anything like that in the works?