Hawk Eggs Hatching Live From NYU Bobst Library

Red Tailed Hawk

The last time we looked, on April 29, Violet and Bobby still did not have their babies. Along with the fine-feathered parents, anyone else who wants to can keep a wary eye on the overdue eggs as well as the proud parental pair of red-tailed hawks  via the “Hawk Cam: Live From the Nest.

Expert Cautiously Optimistic

As viewers begin to lose their patience in their anxious anticipation of the great moment of birth, master falconer and hawk breed John Blakeman from Ohio reassures the impatient crowd of hopeful godmothers and godfathers that everything is fine and the babies should arrive at any moment.

Violet has been frequently turning her eggs,and showing other signs of agitation lately, a good sign says Mr. Blakeman:

“The more agitated she looks, the better the chance that she feels an eyass in there trying to get out,” Mr. Blakeman said, using the technical term for a hawk baby. “If it’s just a dead egg there, she doesn’t have the impulse to do that. She just sits.”

Mr. Blakeman explained that having them cool off a little allows for better exchange of the gasses oxygen and carbon dioxide, allowing the chicks inside to breathe easier.

Dates Could be Incorrect

Mr. Blakeman also said that there is a chance that the eggs have not actually been incubating since March 23; the assumed date until now that the eggs seem behind schedule. Apparently hawks can hover above their eggs for quite a while before they settle down to the business of incubation.

“The whole business of when incubation starts is pretty fuzzy,” Mr. Blakeman said. “They can sit over the eggs for almost a week and not drop down on them. The eggs begin to heat up to the temperatures required for gestation to begin only after they have maintained contact with the mother’s brood patch for hours at a time,” explained Mr. Blakeman.

Hawk eggs need between 28 and 35 days to incubate. If incubation began on March 24, then the chances of them still hatching 37 days later, which would have come last Friday, are “essentially nothing.”

Babies Will Hatch Soon, or Not At All

But if incubation really began several days later, then there is still a chance we can see babies in the next few days.

“Things better happen in the next three or four days,” Mr. Blakeman added.