Baby Red-Shouldered Hawks at WildCare

Baby Red-Shouldered Hawks at WildCare

At WildCare we are always impressed at the lengths to which raptor parents will go to raise their young.

In the week before Father's Day, our thoughts have turned especially to raptor dads who work tirelessly to catch and bring food to their always-hungry chicks.

The male Red-shouldered Hawk helps with nest-building and incubation of the eggs. Then, while the chicks are fluff-covered nestlings, he is almost solely responsible for bringing food to his mate and their young. He will bring a prey item to a location near the nest, and call for the female to come get it and feed the babies while he takes off to hunt the next morsel. 

Once the chicks reach the age when they're ready to leave the nest and learn to fly and hunt, both mother and father birds help them learn how, while supplementing them with prey items. This continues for months. The dedication of these wildlife dads (and moms!) truly is impressive to behold!

The Wildlife Hospital is especially grateful to hawk and owl parents this year because we have admitted record numbers of nestling and fledgling baby raptors this spring and summer. As of this writing, WildCare has admitted 39 baby owls, and 21 baby hawks that fell from their nests.

Fortunately, most of the time, when baby hawks or owls tumble from their nest, they land on the ground uninjured. Even nestling birds are very light, and they usually can use their wings to sort of float down to the ground. If they're lucky, a baby raptor will be found by a concerned person who knows about WildCare. 

In the Wildlife Hospital, newly-admitted baby hawks and owls undergo a thorough exam, including x-rays and bloodwork to confirm that they are uninjured. If so, WildCare mobilizes our Raptor Reunite Team to investigate the possibility of returning the baby birds to their parents' care.

The baby Red-shouldered Hawks in the video below arrived at WildCare within a day of each other. They came from different nests, but are of similar ages. 

Unfortunately, despite our team's best efforts, these two nestlings were unable to be returned to the nest.

They will grow up in care, and our team will need to step in as Mom AND Dad to make sure these young hawks develop the skills they'll need to survive in the wild once they're released.

The good news is that most of the baby raptors that have been admitted to WildCare this spring have successfully been reunited with their parents, where the combined efforts of Mom and Dad will help them grow up successfully.

Sponsor an Animal in Honor of Dad

Who's the best dad? All the wonderful human dads in our lives may be surprised to hear that they have some competition for the title “Best Dad” among our wild neighbors.

Sponsor a wonderful wildlife father (a Red-shouldered Hawk, a Common Murre, a Gray Fox, an American Kestrel, or a California Quail) and send the wonderful dads in your life an eCard featuring this amazing wildlife father!

Click to sponsor now!