New Nest Cams: Red-tailed Hawk and Great Blue Heron

I have blogged before about the nest cams hosted by the BioDiversity Research Institute in Maine, USA. The BRI’s mission is to assess emerging threats to wildlife and ecosystems through collaborative research, and to use scientific findings to advance environmental awareness and inform decision makers. Its website is one of the most reliable for wildlife webcams, and it is well-known for its eagle and loon cams which have been in operation for a few years now.

This year, it has four web cams in operation (the loon cam is currently off-line as the loons nest later in the season):

This year the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is hosting two webcams for the first time from its location in Ithaca, New York.

Great Blue Heron on nest

The Great Blue Heron nest is in a large, dead white oak in the middle of Sapsucker Woods pond, right outside the Cornell Lab’s Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity. Herons have nested here since summer 2009, hatching and fledging four young each year and raising them on a steady diet of fish and frogs. The nest itself is nearly four feet across and a foot deep, and wraps almost entirely around the trunk of the tree. The birds have slowly built up the nest over the last three years. Neither of the birds is banded, so we don’t know how old they are.

On April 6th the female laid the fifth and final egg.  Both parents share incubation duties for 25-30 days. Hatch should occur sometime during the last week of April when the young hatch asynchronously over 2-5 days. After hatching, it’ll take 7-8 weeks before they fly from the nest for the first time. You can see the heron nest cam here:

Red-tailed Hawk Nest Cam

The Red-tailed Hawk nest is located on a light pole 80 feet above Cornell University’s athletic fields on Tower Road. These hawks have nested here for at least the past four years; in 2012 the lab installed a camera to get a better look at these majestic birds as they raise their young amid the bustle of a busy campus. So far, they have recorded the birds bringing prey such as voles, squirrels, and pigeons to the nest. The female, nicknamed “Big Red” in honor of her alma mater, was banded in nearby Brooktondale, New York, during her first autumn in 2003, making her nearly nine years old. The male, nicknamed “Ezra” after the co-founder of Cornell University, was first banded in 2006 as an adult bird, making him is at least seven years old. Big Red laid her third and final egg on March 22. Incubation lasts 28-35 days, so hatch should be around the week of April 13. You can see the Red-tailed Hawk nest cam here:


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