I felt bad watching Indy lay on eggs that wouldn’t hatch…



So I saw this bird crossing the road with food… about half way back on the way home from school.  There was a small patch of woods with mixed deciduous and coniferous trees. It is located at the top of an agricultural Woodinville valley and just before the city starts.


There was just enough room between a housing development and a business park to have the right trees and access to some good hunting areas. I walked around and found 2 old nests, before coming across a new one about 85 ft. up a vine maple. Found some molted feathers and some sign around a dead snag that looked like a good plucking post.


I shot a string up over the first crotch with a slingshot and when I pulled the line over, the female left the nest so I knew it was active. When I came back with a friend a week later I could see some slices all around the ground and I could hear the chicks as I climbed up to the top of the tree.



It was a little challenging to figure out how to safely get up there. But I was able to suck it up and use a 210 foot static rope and some rock climbing gear to make it up to the top. I was getting buzzed all around my head (had a helmet on), but she never made contact. The female would just sit until I moved or made noise and would launch herself and come screaming and whipping past me with enough speed to cause a nice “whooosh” as I swung back and forth and the wind rocked the tall vine maple back and forth.


It was exhilarating to say the least. I was able to get the rope under the crotch right below the nest. But then I had to tie off to higher branches and kick myself up-and-over onto the tree trunk itself  (I was hanging at an angle beneath it) and pull myself up and reattach myself to the higher branches. That was the most scary thing I have ever done. I am used to heights on a cliff …but cliffs don’t move in the breeze and are stable…. Wow. Can’t believe I did it. But I did.


         I got some video of the climb and only briefly at the nest site, since I was holding on with one hand, legs wrapped around the tree, holding up the camera …getting attacked at eye level with the little baby accipiters… swaying 10 feet above my anchor point and a further crazy distance from the sloping forest floor. I then clipped on my small backpack to the tree using a carabineer and cupped a small eyass into it. It should be a little less crowded up there now for the remaining young! I then just had to lower myself and unclip the lanyards to get to the rope, take a second and enjoy the rappel back down!

That was a very very amazing experience. Very scary and… Fun!

Good break from studying.


The nest was mostly small finger sized sticks. It was around2-3 feet deep with a nice cup that held 4 eyasses. I can’t imagine what it will be like when they start moving around. Limited room up there! 


I think it would be cool to set up a remote camera at some nests to watch the chicks grow… food deliveries etc..  Wonder how you could set one of those up? Get city to pay for it… ;) I left a light line up high to make it easy to pull up a rope in the future.




So I got the chick back home and wasn’t sure how best to “introduce” it the my female goshawk. I gave her a quail and made some cupping noises at her like I normally do to get her to come off eggs in the nest and grab the food from me. I then went in and turned my back and popped the chick out of my backpack. I cracked a chicken egg to make it look like it just hatched, even though the chick is like 5 times the size of a newly hatched chick. Indy jumped to the nest…


I was really hoping she wouldn’t grab the easily found “prey” in her nest. But she came down with this long distance gaze in her eyes and stood face to face with the chick.  She had a small piece of quail in her beak and was trying to feed it! I was excited.



From never seeing a baby bird to 2 seconds later ready to instinctively care for  and feed it, that just blows my mind. I helped her open a quail and we co-fed the little chick together. This little guy is going to get spoiled since there is no competition and lots of food! It coughed up a nice feather-filled casting before really eating. It was cool to see my bird’s mothering instincts kick in. She would tear off a piece of food and if it was too big or possibly too irresistible she would swallow it and try again until she had the right sized piece.


Then she would delicately turn her head sideways so the chick could use its beak to interlock  with hers  and scrape the food into its hungry gape. I left the sterile eggs in there so It was comical to see her transition from sitting on eggs for the past month and having the perfect nest pocket for her … to now incorporate the chick. She was funny to watch. She would settle and be content until the chick moved…eggs don’t do that! She was almost confused. But she soon figured it out. I should take out her eggs soon but I feel it is a more gradual transition with them in J.


Sometimes anthropomorphizing is great.

I wanted just to have her get some experience raising a baby hawk. I am not sure what I want to do with the little accip, thinking I may just go in there and keep it tame but use her to feed it, so no food association with me but since I can pet her and pick up eggs help feed and my Gos doesn’t care if other people go in the chamber either I think this will be a great way to have both birds get some good experience while I don’t have to feed it every 4 hours or keep it warm like an imprint gos… the little thing is so funny because it is on a much different scale than the Finnish goshawk. It is just on the point of trying to stand up some of the time.



How old do you think it is? 10 days or so?


I hope everything is going well with you. Can’t wait to be hunting again soon.


Glad I have something to watch while I study and am in clinic this summer. You can just see her new decks about ¾ of the way in.



Take care, ~Aaron

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