Our raking group’s lunch under the shade of a large pedestal of sandstone was interrupted as a Red-tailed hawk appeared in the area, vocalizing insistently. We finished our meal (ruing the lack of anything icy in the 90-degree heat) and Sue and I were promptly dispatched to investigate. Being near the site of a documented nest with babies, a hatchling head count was warranted.
As we snuck (oh, how I’ve wanted to mis-use the past tense of sneak!) across the ridge tops, the keen-eyed pair of adults began to circle and complain. Their plaintive descending ‘keeeeeeer’ call became more frequent. I could count their pinions with my bare eyes, they flew so close. Sue and I made our last descent to position ourselves above the nest across a wash from it, and our binoculars rewarded us with a direct view. Hastily setting up our spotting scope under the watchful eyes (and ire) of the parent birds, we found the most beautifully-adorned stick nest I’ve ever seen, and two robust young hawks crouching in the ledge corner.
We took pictures and immediately high-tailed it out of there, as the adults were quite upset at our presence and were expending precious energy trying to get rid of us.
It is with great delight that I post my first photograph of hatchlings!