Successful Red-tail Nest

by Carl Strang

Last fall a pair of red-tailed hawks arrived at Mayslake Forest Preserve, and began defending the area from other hawks of their species. Their presence through much of the winter was intermittent, but in late winter they were more consistently to be seen.

What’s more, they were carrying sticks to a tree just east of the parking lot marsh. By March 20 their nest was complete.

Soon it was under incubation, and by the end of April the female appeared to be brooding young.

At the beginning of May we could see one youngster, and the parents were offering food to a second, but soon only the larger one remained. This nest may have been the first for this pair, and raising one offspring might be all they could manage. Photographer Randall Wade provided this photo of the survivor in late May.

By June 11 the nestling was almost fully feathered, and fledging was imminent. I was not around during the following week, but restoration co-steward Jacqui Gleason saw the young bird away from the nest on June 12. For the first ten days it remained within 200 yards of the nest. So, the nest is successful, we have a fledgling, and the parents have the opportunity to rear their youngster to independence.

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