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John's Nature Photos

Ongoing Local Photography    Our Backyard Local Hotspots   johnsmckean@att.net
Chronological Trips 
Bonaire 2/10  Long Caye, Belize 1/10  Florida Keys 11/09  Cozumel/Yucatan 7-8/09
  Nesting RS Hawk 5-6/09 Italy 5/09  Utah 4/09  Panama-Birds  3/09  Panama-Hummingbirds 3/09Life List Bird Photos  Panama-Wildlife 2/09
Raptor Migration 1/09  Cozumel, Mex. Birds 11/08  Cozumel, Mex. Underwater  France 10-08  Nevada 10/08
 
Costa Rica Birds 6/08  Costa Rica Hummingbirds 6/08  Costa Rica Wildlife 6/08  Costa Rica Underwater 6/08
Peregrine Falcons 5/08  Magee Marsh 5/08  Colorado 4/08 March Migration 3/08  Killdeer - Ohio 2/08
 Sweden Birds 2/08  Bonaire Birds 2/08  Bonaire Underwater 2/08  Fiji-Birds 11/07  Fiji Underwater 11/07
 Australia Sydney 11/07  Australia-Hawkesbury 11/07 Point Reyes, Ca. 8/07  North Dakota 7/07  Los Cabos, Mex. 6/07
 Dominica 2/07  Homosassa Springs, FL 11/06  Whitsunday, Australia 6/06  Australia 5/06 Land Between the Lakes, KY 4/06
Grand Teton, Wyoming 2/06  Grand Turk 11/05  Grand Turk 2/05  Africa 1/88  Galapagos 11/83
 Each image is legally protected by U.S. & International copyright laws and may NOT be used for reproduction in any manner without the explicit authorization of John McKean
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Red-shouldered Hawks (Our woods): Incubation - Fledgling period
Nest site
: Usually nests below the canopy in deciduous or mixed forest, often near some form of water.

Height:
Typically from 30-60 feet (9-20 meters), but can range from 4-115 feet (1.5-35 meters).
Nest:
Composed mostly of live or dead sticks, dried leaves, strips of bark, Spanish Moss, and lichens; the inner cavity is lined with finer shreds of inner bark, mosses, lichens, and sprigs of conifer are added at egg-laying.
Eggs: 1-6, usually 2-4, eggs laid between January-June, mostly during March-April.
Incubation period:
Incubation begins with the laying of the first egg, and is performed by both sexes, but mainly the female who is fed by the male. Young hatch asynchronously, around day 33.
Nestling period:
The semi-altricial young are inactive, becoming active at about 10 days. Nestlings are thickly covered with long, soft, silky down and vary in size due to asynchronous hatching. Feathering begins about 2 weeks. Nestlings vary in size Young leave the nest at 5-6 weeks, first flight may not occur until day 45 or older.
Fledgling period: Parents supply food to young for about 8-10 weeks after fledging.
Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Photographed from a platform 82' about the Sycamore tree's base (thx Marcia) Nest height: ~ 92' (arrow)
 
6-27-09 Day 61

Much vocalization from chicks nearby but none came to the next; a Great Crested Flycatcher enjoyed the flies drawn to the nest
 
 
6-26-09 Day 60
A click waits quietly in the nest but seems less comfortable with my presence and departs...
 

Mom arrives with no food and quickly departs and then Chick #3 (shown above) arrives shortly after looking for a meal...
 

An older chick arrives sending an aggressive message that has now evolved beyond typical sibling posturing for a meal...
 

The older chick pounces down on the nest sending a message that feeling more like Law of the Forest versus Nest Protocol
 

Both clicks contemplate the possibility of mom returning with a meal this time...
 

Their patience is short-lived and the older click quickly departs...
 

The younger chick stays momentarily and then also departs...
 
 
6-20-09 Day 54
 
 

6-19-09 Day 53

 

 
 
6-18-09 Day 52

Another lazy day in the nest... this chick laying there like a dog laying in the sun... one wing and leg lazily stretched outward...
 

It appeared that dad showed up with a frog and before the chick has a chance to eat it, and before the other chicks responded to dad's arrival, dad left and mom then shows up a minute later with a mole.. see below sequence...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

the chick now has a mole from mom and a frog from dad, and the other chicks saw mom's arrival so they start arriving...
 
 
 
 
 
 

quickly... the other chicks arrive...
 

nest protocol dictates that the nearest/first chick gets the meal and will defend it aggressively...
 

Chick is covering both the frog and mole
 
 

 

the other chicks, thinking this chick has just finished the last of the food, depart the nest.  This chick then starts eating the frog...
 
 
 
 
 
 

two meals in the crop, the chick flies off...
 
 
6-17-09 Day 51

Quiet evening at the nest.  One click quietly waits for a parent to arrive with a meal
 

Starts getting a little impatient and starts calling out...
 
Gets up and looks around for a parent....
 
 

Decides its had enough waiting and flies off...
 

Moments after, mom shows up...with no food
 

Chicks don't know she doesn't have food and start showing up one by one...
 
 

Immediately upon arrive, start looking for food
 

Even mom starts looking at what they are looking at/for...
 
 

2nd chick shows up (1st chick momentarily obscured from view)
 
 
 
 

3rd chick shows up
 
 
 

Confused and disappointed, they watch as mom flies off...
 

And start vocalizing for food...
 
 
 

3rd and 2nd chick fly off...
 

Last chick contemplates the lack of food and later flies off
 

empty nest again...
 

Shortly after, mom shows up with a frog and is quickly joined by a nearly chick
 
 
 
 
6-14-09 Day 48
Chicks are now moving easily to and from the nest for feeding...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6-13-09 Day 47

Day 47 started out like any other day in the nest for the 3 chicks...
 
...until Chick #1 decided to jump out of the nest to a close branch slightly above the nest...
 

3 minutes later, chick #1 jumps back down to the nest...
 

however... chick #1 was forever changed...having its first taste of flight and freedom from the nest
 

4 minutes later, chick #1 flights from the nest...
 
now 10' from the nest, it contemplates its life changing move...
 

...and reflects on its siblings and life in the nest...
 

and click #2 and #3 contemplate Chick #1's exodus from the nest
 

now what do I do...
 

Chick #2 thinks... if chick #1 did it, so can I...
 

so chick #2 hop/flies to the first trial branch...
 

mission accomplished for chick #2...
 

meanwhile, chick #1 is thinking... "what have I done!"
 

now chick #2 starts getting serious and begins testing the equipment...
 
 now intently focusing on chick #1's move to freedom...
 

chick #3 even gets in the testing mode...
 

chick #2 ponders the implications of this next big step...
 

again... chick #3 gets into the excitement...
 

as chick #3 continues to try its wings, chick #2 prepares for first fight...
 

in an instant, chick #2 is gone, and chick #3 is alone in the nest...
 

chick #2 makes it safely to its first perch outside of the nest... and looks down...
 
chick #2 thinks about its next move...
 
chick #2 quickly moves to a new perch...
 
click #3 contemplates the new locations of its siblings...
 
time for some more flight preparation...
 
 
After all that exercise, I'm hungry.  I'll just wait here for mom and my next meal...
 
I wonder if that butterfly is eatable?
 

Good.  Dad's back with a rabbit, and no-one I have to share it with...
 

Dad's thinking.... last time I was here, there were 3 chicks..., now only one...
 

click #2 returned to share in chick #3's rabbit....
 
chick #3 takes evasive action and spins away with rabbit in tow...
 
chick #2 looks on with envy...
 
chick #3 thinks... maybe this whole fledging thing is over-rated...
 
 
will the foot... fit?
 
a quick scuffle over the rabbit...to no avail...
 
 
another attempt by the interloper is answered with a sharp bite to the head of click #2...
 
now full, click #3 allows click #2 to pick through the scraps...
 
the obligatory defecation after a good meal or a harbinger for first flight my chick #3?
 
click #3 takes its first flight from the nest.., leaving its sibling with the scraps...
 
click #3 now moves to higher ground...
 
click #2 thinks... if chick #3 can wait here and get a meal, so can I...
 
soon after, mom arrives with a nice mole...
 
mom thinks..., left 3 chicks, no I only see one...
 
well... off to hunt.
 
click #2 stands alone...wondering what life has in store for them next....
 
 
6-12-09 Day 46
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6-11-09 Day 45
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Missed Days 42, 43, 44
 
6-7-09 Day 41

Mother arrives with a mole...
 
... and mole "mayhem" breaks loose...


...one chick ends up with the mole, turns around and spreads its wings as a gauntlet against the other chicks...


...and down the hatch...

 

 
6-6-09 Day 40
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
6-5-09 Day 39
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Swallowing a whole field mouse...while the others watch...
 
 
 
6-4-09 Day 38

Male arrives with mole
 

Male intentionally drops mole in front of chick #3 (smallest), i.e. likely the chick most in need of food
 

Male fends off Chick #2 attempt to encroach on Chick #3's mole
 

Male stands guard while Chick #3 gets meal under control
 
 

Male flies off
 

Chick #3 hovers off mole to protect the meal
 

Swallows mole whole...
 

And works on getting the mole down the hatch...
 

Harmony returns to the nest
 

Wing flapping noticeably increases by all chicks today
 
 
 

Chicks wearily watch the vultures
 
 

First day chicks attempt to fly, i.e. enough flapping to rise above the nest several inches
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A poop to be remembered...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6-2-09 Day 37
A rainy day in the nest...
 

Male arrives with mole, drops it in the nest, and immediately flies away...


Chick #1 claims it for itself... while Chick #1 & #2 look on...


Attempts to swallow it whole... to avoid sharing...


Male arrives briefly without food and then quickly leaves

 

 
6-2-09 Day 36
 
 
 

 
 
6-1-09 Day 35

♂ arrives with Chipmunk
 
 
 

Chick #2 grabs the family meal with an ensuing tug-of-war with Dad
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Clicks watch wearily as vulture circles overhead...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Missed Days 28-34
 
5-24-09   Day 27
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5-23-09   Day 26


Opps... Sibling got in the way of a projectile defecation

 
 
5-22-09   Day 25
Practicing...for the big day
 

Innate Behavior - projectile defecation
 
Most likely birth order (left to right)... 1st, 2nd, 3rd...
 
 
Chick Yoga
 
The smallest chick tries its wings...

 

Back to the Hunt...
 
 
5-20-09   Day 23
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5-18-09   Day 22
 
 

Mother warning the chick following an earlier infraction...
 
How to Change your position in the Nest
 
 
 
 
 
The wet male dries off after a rain...
 
5/12/09   Day 16

Male joins in to simultaneously feed chicks 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/8/09   Day 12

 
 

Red-shouldered Hawk feeding 3 newly hatched chicks 
 
 

 
 
4/30/09   Day 4

Taking turns on Nest Duty 
 
 

♂ 
 
 
4/28/09   Day 2

♀    Hatched around 4/26/09