A most difficult post to write, as I went through over 3,000 images taken since March 15 when this mating, and nest building first began...ended in tragedy once again this past week. It was at it's worst in my little world!
Two highly unsuccessful seasons for the beautiful Red-Shouldered Hawks of Tingsgrove and Beyond. Then this season a very beautiful old Sycamore tree is the one they selected and built a nice nest, adequate enough for the two eyas that hatched.
This image was just taken the before the ending came, showing the two eyas and how big they were getting. One would turn out to be a large female and the smaller one a male as best I can ascertain. They were about two and a half weeks from making their first flight.
I had penned the two tree adjoining tree trunks early on to try and avoid Raccoon invasion. There was another tree in front of it that bothered me a bit, but the branches that could possibly touch the crown of the nest tree, from below looked flimsy. The landowners were not really keen on the penning of the trees to begin with and so I never asked about that other tree.
On a late morning I drove around the block to check on them and as I was approaching the land where the tree is I saw in a mother Raccoon, followed by three young ones, being chased low by the adult female Red-Shouldered Hawk and panic immediately hit me. I got to the property and saw a large eyas lying dead on the concrete driveway, a fresh fall from the nest with nesting materials around it. I began to sob! Then I got mad at myself for not having placed the aluminum penning around that other tree. I was just simply too afraid to ask and be turned down by the thought. It's happened before! I looked under the tree and saw the other eyas laying upside down, but he was still alive! I had already lifted the lifeless body of the female into my arms and now allowed the one that survived to lie it's head among the feathers of the lost as I frantically dialed my friend Chuck Culp with Wingspan of KY. He could not meet me for an hour and so I brought the young one home with me and I must say the one that died was HUGE. It was the size of a full grown chicken and the injured one was a very large healthy bird too. I could only find a small wound under the right wing. I had some raw turkey, no chicken and cut tiny pieces off and presented it to the very hungry young one. Tears continued to pour down my face as I was trying to calm down. Chuck called and I took the bird to meet him and his assessment was no broken wings, but the injury needed attention and probably an antibiotic. I had to take the eyas to Dr Gregory in Crestwood and that is where I signed the little thing over to the people who would determine if it would live, or die. It had been hours and I was banking on no news had to be good news. I pray the little chap survives and will be able to be rehabilitated and released at Wingspan. Chuck said that when that time comes, I will be able to watch the release and maybe if I am fortunate, and ask him nicely might even get to release the bird myself. A beautiful day it began, and turned out fairly dark, but yes, it is nature, nature at it's worst this time~
First sighting of the first of two eyas ;)
Both male and female take turns brooding, feeding and caring for the young ones. I must add though that the female is generally always very near while the male does most of the hunting beyond the acreage of where the nest tree is. Female on the right, always larger than the males...male is on left~
This would be their last full day on the nest...even typing those words...brings tears...I just am so very passionate about these beautiful birds~
Update on the Red-Shouldered Hawk eyas.
I took this picture after feeding the young eyas and before meeting up with Chuck.
The Raccoon bite was small, but very nasty!
Torn ligaments are involved and so Chuck with Wingspan of Kentucky, his wife Michele and Dr. Gregory at the Crestwood Animal Hospital are going to do their very best for the young one.
It's been given a 50/50 chance right now, which is better than if it had not been found and taken to rehab~
The Bald Eagle nest site is pretty much completed for the season other than the Eaglet flying and it may have since my last visit. In these image shares you can see that it is very much enjoying the jumping around and spreading of those massive wings. It's a shame for this nest as well, that one of the Eaglets perished. It fell back in March ending and before help could be called in, one of the adults flew to the ground and carried it back up to the nest. We all know that was with either a strong beak, or a powerful talon that could have not worked out well for the young bird ;( While it survived the fall, it did not survive long after the flight back up to the nest~
Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slideshow presentation after you have read the narratives~
I am joining in the fun with Eileen at:
I'd Rather Be Birdin'
Maggie's MOSAIC MONDAY
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global