Sunday, May 26, 2013

Up very close and personal with the eyasses

Apologies for the gap in postings - administering AP exams, and end of the school year activities have kept me on the run - but I hope the extraordinary images I am sharing will make up for the delay.

Darryl Moran, photographer for the Franklin Institute, captured these exquisite pictures of a sleeping eyass.

          Darryl Moran


In both these images, you can see the ear opening quite clearly.

          Darryl Moran


Eyass feet and talons are just about adult sized even though their bodies still have a long way to go.

          Darryl Moran


No feathers yet visible, just baby fluff.

                                 Darryl Moran


          Darryl Moran


          Darryl Moran


          Darryl Moran


Kay Meng's images a few days later on Monday, May 20 show those huge feet piled up around them.

                         Kay Meng


When Mom stands beside the eyasses, you can see how similar in size are those feet and talons.

           Kay Meng


           Kay Meng


It was very hot that day, and the eyasses' beaks were open as they panted to stay cool.

           Kay Meng


After checking out the passing scene down below...

           Kay Meng


... it started to get close to nap time.

           Kay Meng


After a couple of huge yawns...

           Kay Meng


...this eyass was out for the count.  You can see that feathers are beginning to sprout on the wings.

           Kay Meng


Sheaths enclose the feathers, and there are blood vessels within to nourish the growth of the feathers.

           Kay Meng


           Kay Meng


The tips of the powerful wing feathers are starting to emerge along the edges of their wings.

           Kay Meng


Both parent hawks continue to do a fine job of providing food for their brood.  As the eyasses mature and become more independent, Mom leaves them for longer periods and has started hunting again.

Nick Cinciruk caught the actual moment she captured a pigeon that was perched on a lamp pole unaware of the incoming danger right behind.



T2 flew in to see if he could share some of the meal, but Mom kept her talon firmly on her pigeon!  The  hawks' difference in size is really apparent here.



No sharing of this meal as Mom started to pluck and eat.





These lamp poles are favorite eating places, as well as staging areas for hunting.  You can see dried intestinal remains of an earlier meal on the surface of the lamp.



Most of these lamp poles are scarily close to the multi-lane highways right beside the Franklin Institute.

          Carolyn Sutton


When Mom had eaten her fill, she flew back to the nest with the pigeon and fed the always eager eyasses.





Over the past couple of weeks, the rate of growth and development of the eyasses has been astounding.


May 12 - Mother's Day
Early morning sleeping huddle.

          Della Micah


May 13
Chilly morning at 45 degrees needed a closer huddle to stay warm.

          Della Micah


May 15
T2 on the right is taking his turn at feeding,

          Della Micah


Perhaps Mom is afraid he will remove the food from the nest as he has done a few times before, so she leans in and takes hold of the prey.

          Della Micah


T2 got the message and left...

          Della Micah


... but returned literally one minute later with a sprig of greenery which he dropped on top of the eyasses, and then flew away.  Everyone on the nest is watching him go.

          Della Micah


Mom finished feeding and headed out, and by mid-afternoon a total food coma was underway.

          Della Micah


May 16
Squirrel for breakfast...

          Della Micah


... and sleeping it off.  The remains of the squirrel lie ready for lunch.

          Della Micah


More greenery appears as the day goes on.

          Della Micah



They are starting to look like baby dinosaurs!

          Della Micah


... or maybe baby vultures.

          Della Micah


Dinner that night was particularly graphic!  The half-eaten squirrel was almost as big as an eyass.

          Della Micah


May 17
T2 is in charge of breakfast.

          Della Micah


They are getting strong enough to sit up and look out over the edge of the nest...

           Tess Cook


... and are starting to vigorously flap their wings.  This "wingercising" is essential to develop the muscular strength to fly.

          Tess Cook


T2 and mom are relentless in their daily greens gathering.

          Carolyn Sutton


          Carolyn Sutton


May 20
Monday morning food coma

          Della Micah


As the temperature rises, the bodies get more splayed.

          Tess Cook


When awake, they are definitely becoming more curious...

          Carolyn Sutton


... stretching up their heads and necks like periscopes.

          Carolyn Sutton


May 22

Each day, their wings get bigger and the flapping stronger...

          Katy Mae


... and they are now entering the baby condor stage of development.

          JB Mayberry


They are always happy to see their dad arrive home bringing the bacon...

          Carolyn Sutton


... though in this case it was a baby bird, which Mom quickly removed from T2.

          Carolyn Sutton


It is definitely getting more crowded on the nest when the whole family is together.

           Tess Cook


Much more to follow, and I plan to be more timely!

As always, my great appreciation to all the photographers and screen capturers whose images allow me to share the activities of this wonderful hawk family.


3 comments:

  1. Amazing pictures, Della and thanks to you and all who provided them. The season always goes so fast. Seems like yesterday the first egg was laid and now they are entering that stage of growth where they change hourly!
    Ann Feldman

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  2. Thanks to you and the photographers... a great update!

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  3. This blog and the photographs are fantastic and it's so wonderful to be able to get a closer view of the nest and the RTH's lives. Thank you!

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