Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Waiting for the first egg

On this wet, dreary Tuesday morning, the nest looks very ready for that first egg.

        Della Micah


Both hawks are frequently on the nest...

         Katy Mae


 ... working on stick placement

        Kevin Vaughan


... or sharing a breakfast vole.

        Carolyn Sutton


But Mom has not yet spent any prolonged time sitting in the nest.  She works on the nest bowl, moving the twigs to her liking...

         Katy Mae


... and occasionally settles in the bowl raising hopes that now she is getting ready to lay.

        Della Micah


She spends a lot of time sitting in nearby trees.

                       Kevin Vaughan


                                        Kevin Vaughan


Optimistically, hawkwatchers comment on how "eggnant" she appears!

          Kevin Vaughan


Meanwhile, T2 is knocking himself out as chief stick collector...

                             Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


... and pine provider.

           Kevin Vaughan


Sometimes, the twigs he brings are small...

                             Kevin Vaughan


... and sometimes they are huge!

        Katy Mae


He still has trouble breaking them off - Kevin caught him here fighting hard with a particularly stubborn stick.

           Kevin Vaughan



           Kevin Vaughan


Mom seems to have no such difficulty, often arriving with chunky sticks.

        Katy Mae


T2 is tireless in his efforts to get the nest just perfect, and as soon as he makes a stick delivery, he is off on his next mission. 

           Kevin Vaughan


It is heartwarming to see yet again how well this young hawk is adapting to his strange situation -- chosen last spring by Mom as step-tiercel for the week-old eyasses, and then this spring accepting a nest built by another hawk (Dad) and throwing himself wholeheartedly into this nesting cycle.

           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


T2 also continues to be a superb vole catcher.

           Kevin Vaughan

For those less familiar with voles (not misspelled moles!) here is a chart in order of size of rodents often consumed by hawks.  The vole is #7.  We do not see #'s 1, 2 or 5 in this region.  Pigeon - a Philadelphia hawk special -  is also a frequent food item for these hawks, along with sparrows and robins.



He usually flies straight to the nest with his vole...

                           Kevin Vaughan


... and then waits a while, perhaps hoping it will bring Mom to the nest.

           Kevin Vaughan


He will often face outwards, looking over to the tree where she often sits, dangling the vole in a tempting fashion.

        Katy Mae


If that doesn't work, he will head out in search of her, the vole still firmly clenched in his beak.

           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


Last Sunday, however, she came right into the nest and grabbed his vole (already somewhat mauled), and took off with it to feast on top of one of the Civil War monuments - a favorite breakfast spot.

           Carolyn Sutton


                           Kevin Vaughan


T2 shows the same watching-for-Mom behavior at the nest even without food.  We can't know what's going on in his head; is he somehow aware that the next stage - egg laying - won't happen until she starts to settle down into the nest?

           Kevin Vaughan


           Carolyn Sutton


           Della Micah


T2 does occasionally take a break from his hard work, finding a ledge with a great look out.

           Kevin Vaughan


The Franklin Institute and many of the surrounding buildings have gorgeous sculptured stone which resonates with the hawks' plumage in a particularly satisfying way.

           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan



Some of the most beautiful images have been taken by those dedicated hawkstalkers who are in place at sunrise to catch the arrival of the hawks from their night time roosts to the roofs of Family Court or the Library.

           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan



These roofs are the staging areas for their morning hunting flights.

           Kevin Vaughan



           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


           Kevin Vaughan


Gilded hawks, indeed.  I am indebted to Kevin Vaughan for so many of his gorgeous images, as well as the many other hawk fans whose generosity in sharing their pictures brings these amazing hawks to so many people world wide.

I did a quick check on the readership (through the magic of Google Analytics), and the top ten countries/cities currently reading about the Franklin Institute hawks are:
1.  United States (Philadelphia, New York)
2.  Finland (Helsinki, Tampere)
3.  Canada (Vernon, Toronto)
4.  United Kingdom (Rugby, London)
5.  Netherlands (Haaksbergen, Eindhoven)
6.   Poland (Warsaw, Kielce)
7.  Switzerland (Rorschach, Lucerne)
8.  Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza)
9.  Germany (Berlin, Bayreuth)
10.  Australia (Sydney, Darwin).

Truly, these are famous hawks!

6 comments:

  1. Patiently waiting like the rest are. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  2. Truly phenomenal.. love every minute of posts,blogs & suburb real time exceptional (!) Photos!! First time commenting & fifth year "hawkaholic". Can't wait for 1st egg! T2 has truly been amazing. Thanks to all of you wonderful Hawkstalkers !

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  3. As always, excellent narration, sublime photos. Thank you, sunnydixie and hawkwatchers! Eggs will surely be laid forthwith! These hawks are doing a great job, too!

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  4. Once again, Sunny, thanks for your "A day in the life of a hawk" narrative. The images are exceptional, makes me feel like I'm taking a ride along with T2's daily activities. Your dedication, along with the "hawkstalkers" is truly appreciated. What a treat to learn the F.I. hawks have an international following.
    We proudly share our Philly hawks!

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  5. Wonderful pictures and great text, Della. Your knowledge of and appreciation for the hawk family brings such pleasure to so many others. I look forward to seeing each entry with great anticipation. Soon we too in the Washington Square are of NYC will have our own cam going up on a ledge at NYU. But, I will still watch eagerly for your reportings on Mom, T2 and family. Thanks so much! CityWoman (Washington Sq. Hawk Watcher)

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  6. Is it known if last years babies are in this area?

    ReplyDelete