I was not only person to think this! Lots of hawkaholics were out and about at this early hour (6 AM)
... all looking for the first glimpse of our young stars. One soon appeared on the fence at the Barnes construction site. (Any unattributed pictures were taken by me.)
... and bigger!
And there was a LOT to photograph. Over the course of the morning, we saw the two haggards and both eyasses. The parents are doing a superb job of providing food drops, and both young hawks eating well.
The tiercel (Dad) delivered a small bird to the top of the Civil War monument, and immediately an eyass flew in to grab it, and hopped down to a lower ledge, bird dangling, to devour it. They are getting quite expert at defeathering their food.
The other eyass sat for a while in a tree along the Parkway, eyeing squirrels and small birds...
... when it suddenly swooped down into the traffic lanes...
... and pounced on some road kill - a small bird - that sadly had been squashed quite flat, and did not really look like a bird until the eyass grabbed at it. This is the first time in three years of hawk watching that I have ever seen one take some road kill.
The road kill bird was in one of the lanes of the Ben Franklin Parkway - not a good spot to take one's time contemplating whether or not to eat it!
As soon as I took this picture, I stepped into the roadway behind the hawk to divert traffic if need be.
A couple of moments later, the hawk took off safely and up to a nearby security light's flat top...
...to rip into its road kill prize.
And Chris Bee, visiting for the day from NYC, Joe Debold and Scott Tremper caught every gruesome moment!
After it had finished eating, it relaxed on top of the lamp, and gradually lowered its wings in the warmth of the morning sun.
The Barnes construction site has lots of fun activities for curious young hawks. Joe captured this sequence of an eyass playing, jumping at, and ripping off some packing materials from crate top.
The previous day, the eyasses were hanging out together in the trees...
... and in the grassy areas beneath...
where Joe Debold caught them practicing sneak attack skills, jumping at each other and at sticks deep in the grass.
Then in a moment of stillness, this eyass looks as if it were sitting for John Audubon.
The tops of the Civil War monuments are currently the favorite spots for food drops. These monuments flank the Ben Franklin Parkway that leads up the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Parkway is lined by flags from many nations. The flagpoles are popular perching choices for the hawks, as well as the trees alongside.
Here is the formel (Mom) setting the table on top of one of the monuments.
The eyasses were both on the nest at that moment, watching her with... hawk eyes!
... and when the eyasses had finished eating, one of them started playing with a stick.
Dad is always an enthusiastic stick deliverer, and he is clearly planning on nest improvements over the summer and fall.
Sunday morning's hawkwatch ended with one of those "money shots" yearned for by photographers. At the base of the Civil War monuments is elaborate carving that includes a small eagle.
This gives a sense of the scale, and of how small a perch the carved eagle was as a landing area.
The eyasses proved to us this weekend that they are making superb progress in their flying and hunting skills. And the amazing hawkaholic photographers are creating some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen of the Franklin Institute hawks.