All hawks, all the time.
April 22, 2010 5:08 AM   Subscribe

The Franklin Institute Hawk Cam is giving viewers a close up look into the lives of a family of red tailed hawks who built a nest on an Institute window sill. Even better, there are babies!

"At any given moment, 1,200 people around the world might be watching this Red-Tailed hawk feeding bits of pigeon to her fluffy chicks. Viewership has spiked since Monday, when the chicks first broke out of their eggs."

Here is a set of still photos of the happy mom.

Urban hawks, previously.
posted by The Straightener (27 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I love stuff like this - need to get down to the Franklin Institute soon. Thank you!
posted by chihiro at 5:22 AM on April 22, 2010

Extra points for the "Tony Hawk Video" Honda ad that pops up on the bottom. These are not the hawks you're looking for, Honda.
posted by Shoggoth at 5:39 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I dunno, Shoggoth, if hawks could be convinced to stop flying and buy some damn cars, I am sure Honda would be more than happy. Automobile manufacturers have kind of saturated the two-legged mammal market and need to diversify....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:46 AM on April 22, 2010

This is fantastic. Thanks!
posted by honest knave at 5:54 AM on April 22, 2010

Awww, she's tearing up a carcass to feed the young! <3
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:55 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love it when hawks are all like 'hey, we can make our way in the Big City too!' New Haven had some in the courthouse.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:06 AM on April 22, 2010

I fantastically love hawks. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by bunnycup at 6:09 AM on April 22, 2010

Another good cam right now is the Cathedral of Learning FalconCam in Pittsburgh, covering one of the two Peregrine boxes that you can watch online. Dorothy and E2's babies just started hatching last night!

The other cam is at the Gulf Tower. The falcons there started laying eggs later so they're still incubating, but they have their own mini-soap opera surrounding this nesting season which is pretty fascinating too.
posted by miratime at 6:15 AM on April 22, 2010

There doesn't appear to have ever been a Mefi post about New York's famous hawks, Pale Male and Lola. There was a big kerfuffle a few years ago when the condo decided to remove their nest.
posted by Mavri at 6:16 AM on April 22, 2010

I worked at a university library that abutted one of the nice green spaces on campus. Students would eat their lunches on the grass and, being students, would feed the squirrels. This used to bug my boss, who felt that wild animals should, you know, remain wild. (Reputedly, he used to lunge suddenly at the juvenile squirrels every spring in an effort to make them wary of humans.)

Anyway, he came back to the library from lunch one day looking deeply amused. I asked him what had happened. He related how he had stopped to watch, in mild disapproval, a group of students luring a young squirrel toward their picnic group with bits of bread and crackers. When the squirrel reached the midpoint between tree and students, a hawk slammed down on it, carried it about 10 feet, and ate the foolish creature in full view of the horrified students. Final score: Hawk:1, Squirrel:0, Students: sadder but wiser, Librarians: amused, Balance of Nature: restored!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:30 AM on April 22, 2010 [6 favorites]

Lucky hawk, but poor squirrel -- distracted by kids and crackers, then gobbled up by a killer from above.
posted by pracowity at 6:35 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wonder if pigeons scream. I know I would if I had something like this coming after me.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:51 AM on April 22, 2010

Great post, The Straightner! Although they haven't returned yet this spring, there's a Peregrine Falcon couple that's been nesting on a ledge at the Radisson Hotel in Winnipeg since 1989. The Peregrines are an endangered species in the Canadian Prairies, so it's sad that, over the years, some of the couple's chicks have either drowned or fallen before they're fully fledged. Fingers crossed for them this year.
posted by drogien at 7:16 AM on April 22, 2010

I love checking these out; urban wildlife is surprisingly cool.

Indianapolis has its own Falcon Cam. These peregrine falcons have been nesting downtown for several years now; the tall buildings are a good replacement for the cliffs where they prefer to nest.
posted by cisko at 7:32 AM on April 22, 2010

My wife loves to watch the hawks at Riverside Church in Harlem when they "train" their young to hunt. There's something pretty funny about a bunch of pre-school teachers beaming like proud parents when they find a bloody pigeon part on the sidewalk in front of the school.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:39 AM on April 22, 2010

She's feeding them right now.
posted by desjardins at 7:40 AM on April 22, 2010

omg that's so adorable, the way she gently offers part of the bloody carcass to her babies
posted by desjardins at 7:42 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Great post, riveting cam. Good thing I really didn't need to get anything done today.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:44 AM on April 22, 2010

Paging rtha to the thread? :)
posted by clavicle at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2010

I wonder if pigeons scream.

The Great Googlini indicates that there is a pigeon distress call, and that some people try to use recordings of it as a pigeon deterrent.

I've heard pigeons making a very ungainly-sounding "Wahhh" noise when they fly from spot to spot, but I think that is more like "Crap. I hate flying." than like "Fuck! I'm toast!"
posted by pracowity at 8:23 AM on April 22, 2010

And here's Amelia on the Travelers tower in Hartford CT.
posted by acanthous at 9:01 AM on April 22, 2010

and the Hampton roads Eagle Cam
posted by FireSpy at 9:10 AM on April 22, 2010

I love watching raptors in general, but it's definitely extra neat to watch them interacting with urban environments. Here in Philly, I have witnessed a hawk snatch up a pigeon and behead it midflight, dropping the head onto the windshield of a car driving on the road beneath it. The lady driving the car FLIPPED SHIT as she was not really expecting a bloody, severed pigeon head to fall suddenly from the heavens. She screeched up onto the sidewalk, leapt out of the car, and ran around flailing for a while. It was pretty great.

Another time, while sitting in Washington Park, I watched a pair of red-tails hunting a parrot. The parrot must have been an escaped pet. I felt bad for the domesticated bird, but they were far too far up in the sky to do anything but watch it all unfold. And it was amazing! The parrot seemed doomed at first, but was managing to keep some distance. Every time a hawk would start to close in, BAM, hairpin turn! This went on for quite a while, my friend and I sitting on a park bench, literally open mouthed with amazement, while other people just kept walking by, not looking up, and not realizing what a stunning scene was playing out just overhead.

In summary, hawks in cities are AWESOME. As is this web-cam.
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:27 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Their are a pair of Swainson's Hawks that have nested in my trees for the last couple of years. They just came back from the south last week. Putting a nest-cam in the tree would be great but the tree is just too tall.

When there are chicks in the nest the mother has a habit of dive bombing me from behind whenever I go outside. This year I'm going to setup a tripod and camera so I can get video of the attacks.

The kids are great to watch once they start learning to fly. I watched one of the kids suffer through his first rain storm. He was on the pole for my yard light spinning in circles with his wings stretched out making the most pathetic sounds I've heard from a raptor.
posted by Tenuki at 10:32 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Another urban Red-tailed Hawk nest, this one in downtown Portland, OR. (forgive the annoying ads and flakey feed, it's sponsored by a TV station...)

3 happy and healthy chicks, and plenty of rats and pigeons to eat.
posted by cRamsay at 10:42 AM on April 22, 2010

3 weeks ago the Barn Owls at The Owl Box were hatching a clutch. They were getting at least 16000 viewers at the peak of the action (9 million total views), with occasional audio commentary, and a hilarious chat stream running alongside.
posted by ovvl at 4:23 PM on April 22, 2010

Also, a really cool Swedish documentary Kestrel's Eye (Falkens oga) is definitely worth a look if you are into this sort of thing.
posted by ovvl at 4:28 PM on April 22, 2010

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