Screen cap - Marge Goodman
The Franklin Institute hawks are now such experienced parents that they had food already in the pantry ready for this first feeding. Both eyasses fed eagerly and knew instinctively to stretch up to mom.
Today, the weather changed dramatically to gray skies and a chilly rain. Daylight revealed a definite pip in the third egg.
Screen cap - Carolyn Sutton
The tiercel soon arrived with fresh food - probably a vole. There was still a rat carcass in the twigs over to the edge of the nest.
He dragged the rat over to the vole as if to present his mate with the complete range of tasty offerings...
... and tore off a sample to tempt her.
Then followed one of the tenderest moments one can witness in hawkdom as he carefully fed her tiny morsels until she was no longer hungry.
Eventually she stood, and up popped the eyasses ready for a morning snack, with their sibling egg sitting calmly to the side.
Mom pulled off bits of rat and fed them to the eager eyasses as dad looked on proudly.
When they were sated, she started to settle down over them, leaving plenty of food on reserve stacked around the nest.
The tiercel left, no doubt to bring in yet more food. He is a hunting machine, and takes very seriously his role as sole provider for the family. The formel settled right down to keep the eyasses snug against the increasingly wet and cold day. This is essential as the eyasses cannot yet regulate their body temperature to stay warm without her protection.
By mid-day, it was time to eat again.
Though the pip on the egg did not seem bigger, there was a noticeable crack alongside it.
One of the eyasses was ready to eat again, while its sib slept on. The white bar across the hawk is a reflection from the screen inside the Franklin Institute placed across the window for hawk privacy.
As mom fed the eyasses, she somehow dislodged a long twig which fell across one eyass' neck, and pinned the other one's body down. Both of them struggled to try to get out from under it. This wonderful mother immediately saw the problem....
... carefully stepped around the eyasses, reached down to pick up the twig in her beak..
... and tucked it down at the back of the nest against the window.
It is truly a privilege to watch these incredible hawk parents write the textbook on how to raise eyasses. Let's hope this family will soon be complete.