They've Hatched!

Emma Feeding (30K)Things looked normal when I arrived at the hawk's nest on the afternoon of June 2nd and saw Emma's tail sticking out over the edge of the nest as it usually does when she is incubating her eggs. It also seemed normal when Ace called from his perch to the east and Emma went out to meet him. She did not, however, go back to her incubating position when she returned five minutes later. Instead, she perched on the rim of the nest and spent the next fifteen minutes pumping her head up and down as she reached down into the nest to feed her chicks. I can not see down into the nest from my vantage point, but her motions were the classic motions of a raptor chopping up food and feeding it to her young. She then left the nest again and flew down to an area about half way between Ace's normal delivery point and the nest. When she returned two minutes later, she repeated the same feeding motion for another ten minutes before reassuming the incubating/brooding position in the nest. It is impossible for me to know how many have hatched because Cooper's hawks normally lay four to five eggs which hatch one to two days apart. It would, however, be hard to imagine it taking that long to feed one chick. I'm therefore expecting to see little hawks climbing up onto the edge of the nest before the end of the month. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if Ace continues to avoid sharing duties in the nest. I'm also trying to figure out just how Emma is getting the food into the nest. The prey is not dangling from her  beak when she returns (owl style) and is not readily visible in her talons, although my view of her feet is somewhat obstructed. It is possible that the two trips are necessary because she is swallowing the food before flying to the nest and then regurgitation it as she feeds the chicks.

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