Red-Shouldered Hawks – February 20, 2022

Since 2019 I’ve followed the adventures of a Red-Shouldered hawk couple. I’ve watched as they’ve refined and refurbished the same nest year after year, as they’ve fed their babies, and as their young have taken some of their first flights.

This morning as we were driving by the tree where these birds have made their home, I commented that there was very little left of their nest. The storms and the strong winds we’ve had this winter have reduced it to only about 1/4 of its original size, and I wondered if they’d rebuild it this spring or abandon it. Wayne suggested that I take a picture to show its current state.

Right as I stopped the car and started to zoom in with my camera, I was stunned to see one of the birds–likely the female, due to the size–fly to the tree with several sticks in her beak! What incredible timing!

This was an all around “jaw-drop” moment, as the earliest I’ve seen them working on the nest in previous years was mid-March.

After arranging the sticks, the hawk flew to a nearby tree. While this was the only bird I saw, I imagine her partner was somewhere close as Red-Shouldered hawks are monogamous and mate for life. Since this is the fourth year that I’ve watched this pair–and they usually breed for the first time when they’re about 2 years old–this bird is likely at least 5 years old.

She flew off again, so I started driving away. We spotted her on another tree where she was apparently breaking off twigs, because we saw her flying back towards her nest with another load of sticks in her beak. I wish I could have gotten a video of this!

We look forward to another year of watching this beautiful family.

Until next time,

Sharon & Wayne

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