Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tompkins hawk chicks are a month old and are changing fast

The Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk chicks are growing fast, and are now able to stand and look over the side of the nest. Their dark brown flight feathers are growing in on their wings, but they still have downy white heads and bodies.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling

The chicks are a month old now and are starting to get that serious adult look.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling looking serious

In the photo below, the chick on the left appears to be older than the one on the right, who still has more down on his/her wings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestlings

The chicks are starting to show the peachy color on their upper chests that will distinguish them for the next few months.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling flapping its wings

Taking a look at the wings, you can see the primary flight feathers growing out, and look like paint brushes. The chick will preen away the feather covering, allowing the full feather to unfurl.

Wing feather development detail

You can learn more about feather structure and development in this article on Cornell's Bird Academy site.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling stretching its wings

Looking at the top of the wing, you can see how much down still covers them. The chick will preen that away as the flight feathers grow longer.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk chicks

Mom Amelia feeds the three kids.

Amelia feeding three chicks

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestlings looking over nest

After dinner, one of the chicks takes in the view.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling looking over nest

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling looking straight at us

Amelia leaves the nest, giving the chicks room to spread out and move around.

All three Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk chicks

This is a nice view of the down still on the wings of one of the chicks.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling with downy wings

After a meal and a nap, it's time for exercise.

Downy red-tailed hawk nestling flapping its wings

I have wings!

Compare the photo above with the one below, which was taken a week earlier when the chick was still mostly downy, and the flight feathers were just beginning to grow.

Fuzzy red-tailed hawk nestling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling looking cute

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk bobblehead

The appearance of the chicks will change quickly now. They will soon lose all the fuzzy down and should start exercising their wings more. The next step for them will be exploring the branches outside the nest. Until then, we will enjoy their babyish cuteness while it lasts.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling still has a baby face

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