juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous Hawk

Chapter 14

Feathering Out

June 11, 2015

For a few days, the nestlings remained deep in the nest (at the times I tried to see them). I could see movement, but no peeping above nest rim. Then today, I could hardly believe what I was seeing! At first I thought it was one of the parents, but Roxie was perched on her usual limb, and she doesn't allow Rufous to come near the nest. Then I saw one of the nestlings flapping his wings and could see a lot of brown plumage. I can hardly believe how much they have feathered out!

Feathering Out


Click on the pic to see an enlargement. Most of the underbody of the little hawk can be seen, and one foot clinging tightly to a stick. Not only the flight feathers, but also the feathers on the young hawk's chest are growing out.

June 12, 2015

Next day, I caught one of the little hawks peeking out from the middle of the nest, all eyes and feet. This may be one of the younger siblings, as he doesn't seem to have many new feathers. But I can still glimpse tufts of brown plumage through the leaves.

All Eyes and Feet

June 13, 2015

This morning my friend Sylvia came by walking her lhasa apso. Sylvia and Mr. Lucky have been my neighbors for a long time, so they know the hawks well. We could see that there was a lot of activity in the nest, and I was able to catch all three of the little hawks in a photo. (I still believe there is a fourth one hiding down in the nest.)

Feathering Out
Feathering Out Here is an enlargement of the hawklet in the middle. He has quite a lot of plumage now, even on his head, one of the last places to grow feathers.

I can also see dark feathers on the hawklet peering out on the left side. But the hawklet on the right must be the youngest of the three; she is pretty much still all white. Watch her in the following video; she is busily preening herself, a sign that itchy pin feathers have erupted through her skin. In another day or so, her new feathers will be unfurling from their sheaths.

Did you hear the little hawks calling? Play the video again, and listen closely right before the end. Their "cheep cheep" call is changing to the "eee-uuuuu" begging call. We will hear a lot of that call after they fledge.

Continue to Chapter 15: Branching! Already!