Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission

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Wanna See A Red-Tailed Hawk Nest?

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 12, 2012 at 6:40 PM

It isn't usually a good idea to advertise the location of hawk (and owl) nests because they can be very sensitive to disturbance. But there is a Red-tailed hawk nest in town in such a perfect location for everyone to see that it just begs to be shared, provided a few simple rules are followed (see bold below). The nest is in a small wooded area between the office condos at the intersection of Summerhill Road and Rues Lane. It is very easy to see and in a location that is not easily disturbed as long as everyone is a bit sensitive to the birds.

The nest has been occupied by Red-tailed hawks for a few years, but was damaged pretty badly this winter by wind and storms. When I looked at it on February 23, it was just a mess of sticks with half of the nest hanging down and barely attached. But, by last week the hawks had largely repaired the nest. I was even treated to seeing them snap off sticks with their beaks to rebuild it.  

To see the nest, pull into the office condo driveway (Brunswick Hills Drive) from Summerhill Road just before the Provident Bank and the turnoff for Rues Lane. At the stop sign about 100-feet from Summerhill Road, turn right into the first parking lot and continue to the second drive aisle (the first is a dead end with Fed Ex drop boxes). Turn right into the drive aisle and continue to the end near Summerhill Road. At this point a row of office condos perpendicular to Summerhill Road will be to your left. Look left into the trees behind the first building closest to Summerhill Road. Just behind this building up in a large tree is a big stick nest. This is the Red-tailed hawk nest and there will usually be a bird sitting on or near (or both) the nest.

Since the nest is below the canopy, even when there are leaves on the trees, there is still a good view of the nest from the parking lot. Right now the birds are putting the final touches on the nest. Soon, the female will be sitting on the nest waiting for her eggs to drop and be laid. Once she lays them, they will be incubated until they hatch. The young birds will grow rapidly and need to be fed regularly by the adults. The great thing about the location of this nest is that all of these activities can be observed.       

Since nesting hawks are often very sensitive and can be easily disturbed, it is best to look at the nest, take photos etc. from inside the car. Binoculars are a big help too. I usually just point my car toward the nest and watch the nest with my binoculars through the front window. But if you decide to get out for a better look, don't slam the car doors, don't make loud noises, and don't try to approach the nest by going behind the building. Move slowly and if the birds seem agitated get back in the car and just watch from there. Please keep in mind that the nest is on private property and we should all be sure not do anything that would make us unwelcome.   

Red-tailed hawks can be found in many of our parks and in our more wooded neighborhoods where they will hunt for rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. Red-tailed hawks have a huge home range that they use for hunting and I have seen this pair everywhere from the High School to Frost Woods. Use the Friends Online Guide to East Brunswick Parks to find some places to look for them and our Online Guide to Backyard Birds for information about their status in town. For more information about Mourning doves visit the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology website. 

Published on the EB Patch, March 12, 2012

Categories: Dave Moskowitz's nature blog / Patch

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1 Comment

Reply TL
10:36 PM on March 12, 2012 
This is very cool. Thanks for sharing!