Red-Shouldered Hawk (Case #4)

Young Brancher dies even though twice reunited with family

A young brancher Red-shouldered Hawk was found on the ground in the backyard of a home in Trussville, a suburb of Birmingham.  It was examined and cared for at the Wildlife Center, but since it appeared  to be perfectly healthy, it was returned to the care of its parents.  The nest was clearly visible about 40 feet up in a deciduous tree in a fringe of woods  immediately behind the yard. Two older and slightly larger juveniles could be seen perched and flying short distances nearby, but no juveniles were in the nest. The adults were observed bringing food to the juveniles.  Tree-climber Tim Leopard placed the young bird on a branch of the nest tree about 20 feet below the nest.  The following day the bird was found on the ground again.  After spending another night at the Wildlife Center, the bird was returned to its parents again. This time Tim climbed up to the nest and left the bird securely perched in the nest. About a week later the homeowners reported that they had found the brancher on the ground again. This time, the bird was dead.

(Above) Looking across the backyard toward the nest

We were unable to retrieve the body for necropsy, but since the bird had shown no signs of abnormality, the bird most likely died because it was unable to compete with its older siblings for food.

One of the older juveniles on the nest

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