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Presidio Discoveries: Watch Live Webcam of a Red-Tailed Hawk’s Nest

Thursday, Feb 08, 2018 Category Nature and Science

We’re on the verge of spring in the park, and love is in the air – particularly for Presidio birds. It’s the beginning of nesting season for hummingbirds and raptors (aka, birds of prey, such as the eagle, hawk, owl, or falcon), and we’ve spotted a cozy couple of Red-tailed Hawks doing a little “nestoration” 100 feet up in one of the Presidio’s blue gum eucalyptus trees. Though we know many birds make their way through the park at this time of year as part of their annual migration, we know this lovely pair of hawks are actually year-round Presidio residents – the couple have returned to this same nest over the past few years.

To help you learn more about bird breeding behaviors in the park, the Presidio has established a live video stream – similar to PG&E’s popular Peregrine falcons webcam or other live bird cams – of these “love birds.” We’re dubbing this “Hawk Cam,” and though we won’t share the nest’s exact location (we’d like to give this couple a little privacy), over the next few months we’ll observe this pair as they make a home for their young, and watch as their small chicks make their way from egg to first flight. Also, we’ll continuously update a highlights playlist from the Hawk Cam on the Presidio’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss an important moment.

So far, we’ve seen some interesting activity in the nest – a few hummingbirds have dropped by to pilfer feathers, twigs, and bits of fuzz for their own nests, and Wildlife Ecologist Jonathan Young noticed one of the hawks is actually banded, likely by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. We hope to get a good shot of the band number so we can learn more about the hawk. In the meantime, stay tuned!

Watch Live Cam of the Red-tailed Hawks’ nest >>

A Few Cool Facts and Resources:

  • The Presidio is an important stop on the Pacific Flyway, the major north-south flyway for migratory birds, which means it’s a hotspot for birdwatching with 323 different types of birds spotted (so far!) in the park.
  • Around this time of year, plenty of birds stop-off in the Presidio to build, or rehabilitate, a nest for the season.
  • It usually takes between 3-7 days for Red-tailed Hawks to build a nest, or in this case, prep the nest for the season.
  • After eggs are laid, chicks hatch in 28-35 days.
  • Did you know Red-tailed Hawks can be the size of a small dog, yet only weigh about three pounds?! Learn more! One great birding resource is Cornell University’s website, All About Birds. They’ve got the low-down on everything from the mating habits of hawks to how the raspy screech of a Red-tailed Hawk is the “go-to” audio for all raptors in Hollywood films.
  • We’re always looking to learn more about the park’s ecology; while you’re in the Presidio, look up into the sky and all around you…then share your observations with us through the California Academy of Science’s iNaturalist app!

Note: This live cam is dedicated to one of the earliest supporters of the project – the park’s late forester, Peter Ehrlich.