Cooper’s Hawk nest replacement

Last week Arthur and I had the opportunity to help out some baby Cooper’s Hawks that got into trouble when they fell out of their nest. On Saturday, May 19, we went out to a residential neighborhood in Deltona where we found three baby hawks on the ground. One was dead, but still warm. We gathered up the survivors and searched the ground for any other babies. We noted the location of the small nest that remained in the tree. An adult bird was also seen flying around, kakking at us. I should note here that we mistakenly thought the babies were Red-shouldered Hawks (RSHA). Our initial report was that they were probably RSHA; despite several clues (kakking adult, tiny nest, we were not attacked) to the contrary, we didn’t consider anything else. Of course, Audubon Center for Birds of Prey staff member Sam knew right away they were NOT RSHAs.

One of two baby Cooper’s Hawks settling in for a quiet night

The next morning we brought the hawks to ACBOP for examination and care. As the birds were given a clean bill of health, it was determined they could be returned to their nest tree, with a little human help.

Monday afternoon we returned to the Deltona tree site to meet Jim, ACBOP volunteer tree climber. When we arrived we were somewhat surprised to find another baby Cooper’s Hawk on the ground. It was alert and seemed well-fed so it was determined that it could be returned to the tree with its nestmates – of which there were three. ACBOP had received an additional Cooper’s Hawk orphan, about the same age as the Deltona birds. It was added to the group. So four babies fell, and four babies were returned.

The fourth Deltona baby

Jim found a good spot in the original nest tree to place a new mesh platform to act as a replacement nest. Once Jim was in the tree, we sent up the new nest and other supplies he needed to attach the structure to the tree and make a cozy nest surface.

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Jim starts by finding a good spot to secure his gear

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Going up!

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Moving on up!

two nests
The white bag indicates Jim at work; my finger points at old nest

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Can you find Jim in this overview photo? Click here for a hint!

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Readying the platform

When all was secure, the babies were sent up. On the way, they began to peep. Shortly after, an adult Cooper’s Hawk made an appearance. It approached the tree a few times, but didn’t get close enough to Jim to pose a threat.

four baby Cooper's Hawks
Four babies ready to go back up

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Precious cargo!

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Back you go!

Another baby gets returned!

Cooper's Hawk nest replacement
Another successful transfer!

Once the babies were secure in the new nest and Jim was on the ground, the adult hawk flew into the tree. We didn’t see it approach the babies directly, but we took our leave without lingering to give the reunited family some peace.

Everybirdy’s home

adult Cooper's Hawk
Very interested in the latest development

The next morning, May 22, Arthur and I drove by the nest to see if everything looked good. We could see two babies in the nest, which still looked safe and secure.

baby Cooper's Hawk
One baby a day after replacement

On Saturday, we drove over to check the nest again. Now we could see all four babies, three of which were perched on a branch close to the nest. The fourth baby rested in the nest itself. Again we saw one adult flying nearby the nest tree. As we drove away, we finally saw that there was a second Cooper’s Hawk associated with the nest. With the great difference in sexual dimorphism in this species, we could easily see that it was a male and female.

four Cooper's Hawk babies
All four babies – look closely in lower right corner of platform to see fourth baby

adult Cooper's Hawk
Attentive adult Cooper’s Hawk

Good luck, Cooper’s Hawk family!

The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, located in Maitland, Florida, treats up to 700 birds of prey each year. You can follow them on Facebook here. This post reflects my own experiences as a volunteer; any errors regarding the Center and their patients or permanent residents are purely my own. Further, any opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ACBOP.

Share the birds, share the love!
This entry was posted in ACBOP. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cooper’s Hawk nest replacement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *