Jumping Ship

The recent record breaking heat wave had some Cooper’s Hawks jumping ship. More than a dozen fledglings arrived in our clinic in a 48 hour period. Wildlife Images staff took another dozen calls about Cooper Hawk babies on the ground. The triple digit temperatures coincided with a specific point in their development. The birds were just old enough to physically get themselves out onto the edge of their nest. This period of time is called fledging. It’s a necessary process as the bird prepares to learn how to fly. This stage in development just so happened to come during the heat wave so there was no stopping dozens of baby Cooper’s Hawks from flying the coop…. which really looked more like falling.

 

The best thing for these birds is most often renesting. The temperatures have cooled just enough that they should be more comfortable in their nests as they strengthen before fully fledging. Baby raptors can be mean but are generally defenseless when on the ground. Many times mom and dad will still take an active roll and bring food to a grounded chick. However, it’s best to try and get them back up to the safety of the nest. This can often be difficult because of the height of the nest, protective parents and the fact that one would be handling baby raptors with beaks and talons that could easily cause injury.

Our first renesting happened Tuesday with the help of Billy, one of our Raptor Volunteers. He used a common method of laundry basket as a makeshift nest.

 

Two more Coopers Hawks were successfully renested Friday morning. In anticipation of nesting season we had been talking with the local arborist company August Hunicke Inc. about having him do some of the more difficult sites. August arrived with all the right gear and scampered up the tree like he belonged in it… all with two baby Cooper’s Hawks in tow. The homeowner at this particular location was reporting that the parents were still nesting and very vocal so we had a hunch the renesting would go well. After they were placed August and our clinic staff remained and watched for about an hour to ensure the babies would stay put. We are so grateful to amazing volunteers, talented tree-climbing arborists and helpful homeowners who are dedicated to Saving Wildlife!