When I left, the two remaining juvies, F1 and F3, were making excellent progress in learning to hunt and catch their own food, supervised by the ever-attendant Mom and T2 who still made food drops as needed. I was having trouble sorting through and downloading so many marvelous images of the juvies' hunting runs and successful captures. They looked set for a great summer of honing their hunting skills to be ready for their migration south in late August/early September.
I'll cut to the chase...
On Sunday, 7/21, the staff at Moore College of Art saw a hawk fall to the sidewalk in front of their windows facing Logan Square. It was alive but stunned, and was taken to the Schuylkill Wildlife Rehab Center. It was the male twin - F3. (F2, the female twin, had died in early July after hitting Moore's windows in the atrium courtyard - an interior open space with trees: see post of July 3, We have lost a hawk.)
"The RTH from the Franklin Institute died last night. We are unsure exactly why this happened, although it is not surprising when an animal has severe blunt impact trauma from flying into a window and then falls a long distance to the ground. There is often internal damage and organ rupturing that cannot be seen, felt, or detected. The majority of red-tailed hawks do not make it to adulthood. Both the Clinic staff and Dr. Boutette did everything possible for the bird.
This is the reality of wildlife in the city. For four years with the Hawkcam we had fairy-tale endings, which is far from typical. Typically, the world of humans and the world of animals collide and life is brutal, ugly, and short. That’s why wildlife rehabilitators are here, to undo what little damage we can and to alleviate what suffering we can. Now we have to move on and focus on the other four hawks we are currently caring for [not FI hawks], as well as the thousands of other animals. Hopefully the last fledgling will survive and fly off and life will go on for these hawks and all the other wildlife."
Today, 7/31, we heard that F1 "made it through the night and ate several cut-up mice hand fed to him by Rick this morning."
People have asked many times this month what caused the hawks to fly into the windows. I think it's really important to realize a couple of things:
• More than any juvies from past years, these youngsters started chasing small birds much sooner. Usually, in their early hunting forays they pursue voles, mice, even bugs, all of which move more slowly than birds and tend to be down in the grass and away from buildings.
• This is the first year that the fledged eyasses have hunted over in the Logan Square area where Moore College is situated. The trees that line the sidewalk in front of Moore are extremely close to the building. Young hawks chasing birds in and out of those trees who still don't have full control of their flying power are perilously close to the building. It's hard to know whether bird strike prevention on those windows would have helped save F2 and F3. Moore College has been most responsive, and plans are underway to put banners across those windows to help birds see them better.
As we cross our talons and hope for the best possible outcome for F1, let's be glad we had the privilege to follow him and his siblings from egg to fledging, and remember that wild animals, no matter how fierce and strong, and no matter how adaptive they may be to an urban setting, are always vulnerable to the dangers created by humans in their environment.
Here are a few pictures that show F1 and F3 at their best.
Though the youngest, F1 has always been precocious and determined.
It's rare to see F1 ever looking relaxed.
His older brother took time to smell the flowers...
... and in the short time he had, enjoyed the pleasure of bathing in the Sister Cities park pool just off Logan Square.
Hoping for good news for F1..........