Skip to main content

Red-tailed Hawks Begin Hatching Above Cornell University’s Campus

Watch Big Red and Arthur meet at the nest during their second hatchling’s reveal on April 27.

Two down, two to go! The Red-tailed Hawks have been busy tending to two hatchlings at their nest site located 80 feet above Cornell University’s main campus in Ithaca, New York. After a pip (or break) was observed on an egg on April 24, the first chick (named “N1”) finished hatching on April 25 after 39 days of incubation. The second hatchling (“N2”) followed two days later on April 27 after 38 days in the egg. The remaining two eggs are now at day 39 and 36 of incubation, respectively, and they are nearing the end of the hatching window. If they are viable, we should see signs of hatching at any moment! Watch live.

[Update: the remaining two eggs have failed to hatch within the expected hatching window, and the eggs have been deemed inviable. See the Red-tailed Hawk Cam Timeline for more information.]

Hatch-tivities: Immediately after hatching, young Red-tailed Hawks have damp feathers and can barely raise their heads. In a few hours, their downy feathers dry and fluff up. Within 24 hours, hatchlings will emit soft peeping calls and start raising their heads to beg for food. Mealtime is an exercise in patience for Big Red as she attempts to shuttle bits of prey into the mouths of her clumsy nestlings while they bobble around.

Down The Line: As the chicks get older, they develop new behaviors. At 1 week old, the nestlings will begin pecking at prey in the nest and preening their feathers. They may also take aim at “bonking” each other with their bills, especially during feedings, though this aggressive behavior between nestlings typically wanes at 2 weeks. After 2 weeks in the nest, the chicks will begin standing, flapping their wings, and bobbing their heads. The youngsters will begin feeding themselves around 3 weeks of age.

Be sure to keep track of all the daily activities in the nest on Twitter/X @CornellHawks, and join us for Cornell Hawks Live Chat on YouTube Chat on Monday–Thursday and Saturday. See the chat guidelines for details on the 2024 chat schedule.

Bird Cams is a free resource

providing a virtual window into the natural world
of birds and funded by donors like you

Pileated Woodpecker by Lin McGrew / Macaulay Library