Sometimes, patience and determination are rewarded. This is what happened to the hapless pair of Red-tailed Hawks who were nesting on the nearby hospital’s chimney’s catwalk. On 28 April, looking through my spotting scope, I saw a fuzzy, white head rising above the edge of their nest.

I call them hapless because it took them four years to have a viable nesting season. I have been watching them each year from our 18th-floor condo in Toronto, Canada. The first year, the female sat on the nest from the beginning of March to the end of May before abandoning the nest. The next year, the catwalk underwent repairs and the nest was removed. The third year, the pair dropped a few sticks on the catwalk but didn’t do anything more.

This year was different. At the beginning of April, we returned home from being away to see a big nest sitting on the platform. The female was positioned low and snug on the nest, even through all the month’s wind and rain. I’ve read that both parents will incubate the eggs, but I like to think that the female is more likely to be doing that. I saw her poking around in the nest which made me think she was turning the eggs. The male brought her food which I saw her eating. Also, he defended their territory. On 12 April, I watched him escort a pair of Turkey Vultures away from the nest. On the days before hatching, the male appeared to be bringing more food to the nest. The female was restless and kept looking into the nest.

On 3 May, I saw the female feeding two nestlings. This was an exciting surprise because before that I had seen only one head popping up. So far, the pair has taken good care of the nestlings. I don’t always see the male dropping off food, but I see the female feeding the young. She rips off small bits which they take from her and gobble down. Afterward, I see the female fluff herself up before she broods the nestlings.

In my next column, I will share more of my observations about the hawk family.

Cover photo taken from Pexels. Other photos by Kinrys family.

Written by Leslie Kinrys
Leslie Kinrys has loved birds, since her father put a House Sparrow fledgling in her young hands. She lives and birds in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with some trips farther afield. She enjoys seeing all species of birds, but her favourites are hummingbirds. Also, Leslie enjoys reading, listening to Country music, getting together with friends, and rooting for her baseball team: the Toronto Blue Jays.