Hawk Chick Takes Flight

May 30, 2012 | Mark Hobson

At 6:59:09 am CDT Wednesday 30 May 2012, the first hawk chick to take wing left the nest. This image was captured on the UW-Madison Hawk Cam.

first hawk chick flies

YouTube video of the first flight:


The chick didn’t end up traveling very far. The picture below was taken at about 10:00 am ¬†on 30 May. It is sitting next to the web cam on the roof of Weeks Hall watching the nest.

Update: As of 3 pm on 30 May the chick was still sitting undisturbed by the web cam on the roof of Weeks Hall.

The chick tried out its wings and explored the roof of Weeks Hall all day.


montage of hawk check on roof

The prodigal's journey across Weeks Hall roof (click to enlarge).

Update: The chick dropped back into the nest at 6:45 pm on 30 May. It spent a grand total of 11 hours 46 minutes 58 seconds on the roof.

Hawk chicks typically take their first flight from the nest about 45 days after hatching (two of these chicks hatched on 19 April and the third on 22 April). The fledglings will stay near the nest and their parents for another 6 to 7 weeks as they learn to fly and to hunt for themselves. In 10 weeks they will be completely independent.

The tell-tale red tail will appear in their second year and they typically begin breeding in their third year. Red tailed hawks live between 10 and 20 years.

Keep your eyes on our Hawk Cam to watch the next two chicks take wing.

A previous news story concerning the hawk family.