Almost branchers

Our red-tailed hawk chicks are sooo close to fledging now! I’ve been told that the tree-nesting raptors usually first leave the nest to hop around on branches; hence they’re called “branchers.” This afternoon I watched the chicks and was able to catch some of the maneuvering, which included hopping around the edge of the nest.

One of the chicks seems more adventurous than the other. I know that female raptors are larger than males, so I think that males reach their fledging size sooner than their sisters. Which would mean that this earnest almost-brancher is a boy. He’ll be flying soon!

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4 Responses to Almost branchers

  1. PamelaR says:

    I also think that the eggs are laid a number of days apart so one chick would be older and, I assume, will fledge sooner than the younger one would.

    • algong says:

      Yes, you’re right about that. After all those years watching the peregrine falcon nest cams and having young peregrines fledging literally right over my head at the marine lab, you’d think I’d remember that detail! All else being equal, though, if the chicks had hatched on the same day then the male would probably fledge first.

  2. Kate V. says:

    Oh my goodness! It seems pretty darn windy to be trying something new like this! Very treacherous, those branchers are very brave 🙂

  3. algong says:

    You know how it is on the coast in the summer: Mornings are typically calm and afternoons windy. Those eucalyptus trees do an awful lot of swaying! The birds can use the wind to generate lift, which helps on those first fledging flights.

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