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RS Hawk chicks

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  • Kate Marianchild
    This year the Red-shouldered Hawk nest that I wrote about a few years ago had four chicks to start. After a couple of weeks there were only three, and a week
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2008
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      This year the Red-shouldered Hawk nest that I wrote about a few years
      ago had four chicks to start. After a couple of weeks there were only
      three, and a week or so later when I looked - on the second day of
      the unseasonal heat wave - there were none. The upper leaf canopy is
      sparser this year (due to unseasonal frost, I've heard), so I've
      wondered if the chicks might have overheated. They seemed a little
      big to have all been eaten by a King Snake - they were big enough to
      have some dark plumage and were practicing spreading their wings (but
      it was way to early for them to have fledged). I didn't get around to
      climbing a ladder to the roof of my yurt to see if there were dead
      chicks in the nest.

      Another possible variable is the mother. She looked like a different
      bird than in years past. I don't know if the feathers on her head and
      mantle might have darkened with successive molts, but there seemed to
      be a sharper line between the dark plumage of her mantle and the
      light orangey-white plumage of her breast. So maybe she was a less
      experienced bird. The first year I observed the mother stand between
      the chick and the sun and spread her wings to create a sunshade on a
      particularly hot afternoon. I wasn't watching much this year so I
      didn't see what happened on the first day of the heat wave.

      I will be interested to see if the adult pair uses the nest again -
      this year or another year.

      Would appreciate any thoughts on the overheating hypothesis.

      Thanks,

      Kate




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