2021 Cornell Hawks Take Flight, Explore Campus

July 15, 2021
Watch the Red-tailed Hawk fledglings explore their nest site.

The next generation of Red-tailed Hawks have fledged from their nest above Cornell University and are now exploring the surrounding territory! These young raptors have made a habit of returning to their nest site after fledging, so tune in live for a chance to catch them in action. Watch cam.

First Flights in the Books: On June 22, at 51 days post-hatch, Red-tailed Hawk nestling K1 was the first to fledge with a straight-line flight into the trees next to Rice Hall. The youngest chick, K3, followed suit on June 23, but overshot its intended target (the trees across the road) and contacted a campus building before fluttering safely down to the ground. 

Sad News About K2: As you may have seen, the middle chick, K2, was afflicted with an unknown injury to the eye and bill on the week of June 14. In the days following, it became increasingly lethargic and had trouble eating.

With consult from veterinarians and wildlife rehabbers, Cornell Lab staff made the decision to retrieve K2 from its nest on June 22 and transport the bird to the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital. Unfortunately, X-rays and other testing revealed severe and irrecoverable injuries that would have prevented K2’s survival in the wild or quality of life in captivity, and the chick was euthanized out of compassion on June 24. Read this article for more information on K2.

The Next Stage: Since fledging, K1 and K3 have spent the past three weeks honing their flight skills while being fed by Big Red and Arthur. Now the fledglings should be ready to attempt hunting for themselves. For the next month or so, the adults will continue to feed their young, who may supplement their diets with insects and other invertebrates while learning to hunt. Good luck out there, K1 and K3! 

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