I love raptors!  I think by watching other nests we can compare and contrast what we see in order to gain a better overall understanding of raptors. There are many nest cams out there, I can’t watch them all, but I welcome highlights from other cams!

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5/31/16 – If you were away this weekend celebrating the holiday you missed a lot of action on the nest cams. Tom and Audrey osprey welcomed their second chick on 5/29/16! You can see both chicks here during a feeding. After the continued harassment by a bald eagle, Tom is on high alert as he protects and provides for his family.

And over at the Cathedral of Learning, the peregrine falcon chick, C1, was banded on Friday and we found out she is a girl! She is developing right on schedule and has begun trying to self-feed! Hope will continue to help her to eat as she learns how to tear open food. Here, Hope lets C1 feed for a while, then takes over. She is also starting to give her wings a workout and when the storms blew by, she really seemed to enjoy the wind and weather, performing her own little rain-dance! This type of activity is important though, as soon the little chick will fledge! We probably have only about 10 days to go before she leaves the scrape. If you live in the area and would like to help out, fledge-watchers are wanted. Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Hope tries to retrieve food from C1 on 5/30/16
Hope tries to retrieve food from C1 on 5/30/16

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5/27/16 – Tom and Audrey osprey have a chick! Congratulations to the Chesapeake opsrey pair on the first hatching of the season! The egg hatched at 40 days of incubation and there are two eggs remaining in the nest. Each egg was laid three days after the previous one, so we can expect more hatchings over the upcoming week. Last season this pair were foster parents to two chicks, then took in a juvenile osprey at the end of the season. This season Audrey went missing for about a day and the eggs went un-incubated for about 6 hours, we were not sure if that affected embryonic development, so this hatch is great news!

Chesapeake osprey first hatch of 2016 on 5/27/16
Chesapeake osprey first hatch of 2016 on 5/27/16

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5/26/16 – I have an update on the three Red-shouldered hawk chicks mentioned previously (scroll down to 5/7/16): the chicks are doing well! These photos show the chicks and one adult. Thank you to chatter km for submitting these photos!

Three red-shouldered hawk chicks in nest. 5/24/16
Three red-shouldered hawk chicks in nest. 5/24/16
Red-shouldered hawk adult and chick. 5/24/16
Red-shouldered hawk adult and chick. 5/24/16
Red-shouldered hawk chick standing. 5/24/16
Red-shouldered hawk chick standing. 5/24/16

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5/23/16 – The Arizona Game and Fish Department checked on the progress of the baby peregrine falcon at the Phoenix nest. The AZGFD is pleased with the progress and health of the chick and posted a comment on the HD on Tap site. What does a falcon do when its chick is being examined by humans? Make high-speed, swooping passes while giving loud alarm calls! Image courtesy of AZGFD and HD on Tap.

Phoenix female peregrine falcon defending chick on 5/23/16
Phoenix female peregrine falcon defending chick on 5/23/16

Check out this funny clip of C1 showing how much he has progressed… and this one showing Hope still has her watchful eye on him, even if she is off-cam. C1 expresses himself the next time Hope brought food! Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

C1 steals food from Hope on 5/23/16
C1 steals food from Hope on 5/23/16

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5/22/16 – Here are some funny pictures I had to pass along….Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

C1 to Terzo- Feed Me! (5/20/16)
C1 to Terzo- Feed Me! (5/20/16)
C1 to Hope- FEED ME! (5/20/16)
C1 to Hope- FEED ME! (5/20/16)
C1 to Hope- FEED ME NOW!!! (5/20/16)
C1 to Hope- FEED ME NOW!!! (5/20/16)

Also, have you checked out the Great Spirit Bluffs falcon cam yet? Thank you Raptor Resource Project and Ustream for these images.

Great Spirit Bluffs Nest box on cliff 5/20/16
Great Spirit Bluffs Nest box on cliff 5/20/16
Great Spirit Bluffs nest box full of chicks 5/20/16
Great Spirit Bluffs nest box full of chicks 5/20/16

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5/20/16 – As mentioned, C1 is getting more exploratory, and feisty! Can’t find him on the nest cam? Try the snapshot cam! Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Snapshot cam Cathedral of Learning falcons 5/20/16
Snapshot cam Cathedral of Learning falcons 5/20/16

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5/19/16 – As C1 has now reached 20 days of age, banding day is drawing near! At some point next week (I am guessing they prefer weekdays if possible) we can expect the PAGC Peregrine Falcon Coordinator, Art McMorris, to remove C1 from the scrape and quickly band him and return him to the scrape. Of course, they will be off cam for the procedure, but we can expect Kate St. John to post pictures after it is over. There will be a health examination performed and they will treat him for mites if needed. If you have been watching, you will notice how much more mobile C1 has become, watching things that move, grabbing items in his feet and handling them with his mouth, etc., and they want to have the banding done before he gets too much more mobile! Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

C1 watching something intently 5/19/16
C1 watching something intently 5/19/16

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5/18/16 – I am glad to report the AZGFD has returned their live streaming peregrine falcon cam from Phoenix. I want to applaud the AZGFD for returning the cam and for hosting a live Q and A session for the public with two staff members involved with the falcon cam. I look forward to seeing how this little falcon fares. Thank you for AZGFD and HD on Tap for this image.

Phoenix female feeding chick wearing splints on 5/18/16
Phoenix female feeding chick wearing splints on 5/18/16

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5/17/16 – C1 is growing and developing right on schedule and can now be seen sleeping in an upright position sometimes. C1 even stood up on his toes for a few wobbly steps the other day! We won’t expect to see him standing upright regularly for about another week. Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Hope and C1 5/16/16
Hope and C1 on 5/16/16

Meanwhile, Audrey osprey continues to incubate three eggs at Chesapeake Conservancy. We won’t know if her brief harassment by an eagle affected the development of the eggs until they hatch or not, with the first egg not due to hatch until May 22-29. Thank you Chesapeake Conservancy for these images.

Audrey osprey returns to nest with fish on 5/16/16
Audrey osprey returns to nest with fish on 5/16/16

On a sad note, I feel I need to comment on another falcon cam that I had just started watching. The Maricopa County and Arizona Game and Fish Department were sponsoring a nest cam in downtown Phoenix that I had linked below on 5/10/16. The falcon pair had just hatched one egg but it did not seem like a particularly healthy chick, having some similar problems that we saw last year at the Cathedral of Learning. I was fascinated at the similarities between these two chicks, and saddened by the similarities between the human reactions that occurred in the wake of both situations. Last year at the Cathedral of Learning there was so much outrage at the thought of letting nature take its course that the chat feature which was embedded in the nest cam stream was removed and has not been replaced. This means you can watch the cam, but if you have a question or a comment you would like to share you have to go find another place to post.

I find it difficult to understand how the nest cams can provide an educational resource if there is no one to answer your questions or share information with. In Phoenix, after the nest cam watchers mounted a campaign to bombard the AZGFD with harassing phone calls they succeeded in having the nest cam shut down. The AZGFD did remove the chick from the nest box and have him evaluated and treated for splayed legs and the chick is back in the nest box, but the public can not watch.

My problem with this type of behavior is that the public can not continue to watch and learn from these episodes. I am fascinated by wildlife and want to watch even if the outcome is less than perfect, and I would like to have access to enough information that we could hopefully learn from these events. If the public finds it unbearable to watch, the logical solution would be for the individual to turn off their own computer page, not to turn off the feed so those of us who were interested in learning more can not.

Maybe everyone needs to go back to their biology books and refresh their memories about evolution and what is necessary for evolution to occur. In the simplest of terms, there must be some ‘losers’ if there are to be some ‘winners’; there must be variety and excess in the population for the ‘strongest’ to ‘survive’. This means that not all baby animals do survive. Furthermore, it means that if all did survive, the population would become weaker, have more disease, and suffer more overall.

Many webcams do have a statement indicating their policy on intervention and a warning that watching webcams may be difficult, but not every web page includes that message (for example the AZGFD has a statement on their website, but it was not posted on the HD on Tap site where many people watched the cam).

So nest cam watchers, I hope you can enjoy this very intimate look into the life of a nesting bird that we are so privileged to have brought to us by the various sponsors. Please, if you find it difficult to watch, walk away, turn off the page, and take a break! But for the sake of those interested in observing and learning, please do not harass the local Fish and Game Department, local nest cam sponsors, or other people! There are scientists out there trying to study these birds in order to increase out knowledge and possibly improve our management and protection of these species.

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5/12/16 – C1 is now 13 days old and at roughly the same stage of development as the bald eagle chicks at the Harmar nest. They all are wearing secondary down and beginning to get their pin feathers in, they don’t need to be brooded as often and are becoming more mobile and exploring their environment (falcon, eaglets). And they are all eating a lot of food (falcon1, falcon2, eaglets1, eaglets2)! Bald eagle chicks take roughly 11 weeks or more to fledge, while peregrine falcon chicks fledge at roughly 6 weeks, so C1 is expected to fledge 2-3 weeks before the Harmar eaglets.  Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Terzo and C1--he's not supposed to still fit under me, right? 5/11/16
Terzo and C1–he’s not supposed to still fit under me, right? 5/11/16

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5/10/16 – Falcons galore! Wow, given the circumstances at the Cathedral Falcon nest over the past week, many folks have been looking to other nest cams. Here are a few, however, please keep reading to see how  things are going at the CoL now.

Great Spirit Bluffs nest cam is one sponsored by Ustream and Raptor Resource Project. The nest box is located on a cliff high over the Mississippi River. There are currently four chicks at GSB which hatched on 5/6/16 (video). This nest has Michelle returning and a new male, Newman, who arrived this year.

Chatter Jan0 recommended the Downtown Phoenix Peregrine Falcons for the awesome clarity of the video; thanks Jan0! As you can see, the picture is clear enough to show a tiny gnat on the eyelid of the adult falcon! They are currently hatching eggs. Thank you for the images Maricopa County and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Downtown Phoenix Peregrine Falcon hatching eggs 5/10/16
Downtown Phoenix Peregrine Falcon hatching eggs 5/10/16

And finally, things seem to have turned a corner at the Cathedral of Learning. Yesterday we saw all three falcons in the scrape together as Terzo watched Hope feeding C1 from the corner.  This afternoon Terzo also made two off-cam food drops! Thank you chatter sheba for sending the family photo! Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Family meal falcon style at Cathedral of Learning 5/9/16
Family meal falcon style at Cathedral of Learning 5/9/16

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5/8/16 – No news is good news and it has been a long time since I have posted about the Hays eaglets, now approaching 6½ weeks old! H5 is gaining new skills as he tries to feed, but he catches on some fishing line. Look closely for the line highlighted in the image below. No worries! The eaglet got free and is un-harmed! The eaglets will grow for another week or so, then put most of their energy into wingerscizing; muscle development.

Images courtesy of PixController, ASWP, The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Hays eaglet H5 caught some fishing line 5/7/16
Hays eaglet H5 caught some fishing line 5/7/16

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5/7/16 – Unusual location indeed! Thank you to chatter km for submitting these photos taken of a hawk’s nest on the back of a neighbor’s house! The nest is currently home to three chicks!!!

km's red-shouldered hawk's nest 1
km’s red-shouldered hawk’s nest 1
km's red-shouldered hawk's nest 2
km’s red-shouldered hawk’s nest 2
km's red-shouldered hawk's nest
km’s red-shouldered hawk’s nest close-up

This Red-shouldered hawk’s (Buteo lineatus) nest under an awning of a house, is in an unusual location indeed!…This nest is indicative of wetlands and forests near-by. Red-shouldered hawks live and hunt in forests, but have also adapted to wooded suburbs and park settings. At this point in their range these hawks are likely migratory, but these homeowners can expect the hawks to return and re-use this nest as long as the structure can contain it. They generally incubate 2-4 eggs roughly 33 days and exhibit similar parental roles as we see with the eagles and falcons. The chicks will fledge at about 5-6 weeks of age or more. Good luck to this season’s three chicks! To read more about this kind of hawk, click: Cornell or Audubon.

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5/6/16 – (afternoon) Hooray! Audrey osprey has returned! She was gone long enough to have everyone worried, but she appears to be fine! Watch the video of her return here. Thanks again to Chesapeake Conservancy for bringing us the nest cam!

Audrey returns! 5/6/16
Audrey returns! 5/6/16

5/6/16 – Bad news all around….Yesterday was not a good day as the Cathedral of Learning peregrine falcons lost another chick, and even worse, Audrey, the adult female osprey at the Chesapeake Conservancy nest cam has been missing since last night. Tom sat on the eggs last night, but the eggs are now sitting un-incubated in the rain. The loss of young of the season is difficult, but the loss of a breeding female is devastating, as all the future offspring she might have had are lost also. While, the population of osprey in the Chesapeake Bay are recovered from the impact of DDT, new contaminants, electrocution, collisions, and entanglement with fishing line or other debris continue to be a threat (Watts and Paxton 2007).

Thank you Chesapeake Conservancy for bringing us these images.

Chesapeake Conservancy osprey eggs alone in the rain 5/6/16
Chesapeake Conservancy osprey eggs alone in the rain 5/6/16

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5/3/16 – Tom and Audrey continue to incubate eggs at the Chesapeake Conservancy and I had a quick peek at the speckled eggs today. You can watch a brief clip of nest activities here, or watch the cam here. Thank you Chesapeake Conservancy for the images.

A rare peek at Audrey osprey's speckled eggs on 5/3/16
A rare peek at Audrey osprey’s speckled eggs on 5/3/16

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5/1/16 – The two peregrine falcon chicks at the Cathedral of Learning scrape are eating and already seem much bigger. The remaining egg was laid on April 2, so we won’t expect it to hatch until May 7 or so. Watch one feeding and the other. Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Feeding at CoL 15:53 on 5/1/16
Feeding at CoL 15:53 on 5/1/16
Feeding at CoL 17:25 on 5/1/16
Feeding at CoL 17:25 on 5/1/16
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