Red-Shouldered Hawk (Case #3)

Young Nestling returned to original nest after overnight absence

Two young nestling Red-shouldered hawks were found on the ground beneath a very tall pine tree at Aldrich Gardens, a botanical garden in Hoover, Alabama.  One of the nestlings was dead, but the other one was unharmed by the fall.  I took care of the nestling overnight, and fed it skinned, finely-chopped mice at four hour intervals.  Early the following morning Aldrich Gardens Director Larry Quick had arranged for us to meet David McClain, an arborist who frequently works for the gardens.  Dave climbed the tree to the nest, which was in the crown, about 75 feet above the ground.   The nest was strong, but was so flat that the nestling was likely to fall again.

(Above) The nestling is returned to its nest

Dave made a depression in the middle of the nest structure that was deep enough to safely support the nestling.  Then the nestling was placed in a bucket lined with pinestraw and raised by ropes to the nest.

Dave returned to the ground, and we awaited the appearance of an adult.  The game caller had been used the night before on another reuniting project, and had not yet been returned.  I had brought a small cd player instead, and I was not satisfied with the sound quality.  When there was no sign of an adult within about half an hour, I decided to go back to the Wildlife Center and get the game caller.  When I arrived at the Center, however, there was a message for me from Larry Quick saying that an adult bird was already at the nest.  As sometimes happens, the calls here may have served to attract the adult to the nest tree area, but it remained concealed, waiting for us to leave.

(Above) David McClain’s view from the nest of Larry Quick and Anne Miller on the ground

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