Hawks nesting at The Franklin

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Image from The Franklin&#39;s website.  Visit them online for more pictures, information, and live video of the hawks.</span></div>
March 11, 2009 3:37:25 PM PDT
Two hawks have made a home at The Franklin in Philadelphia, and it looks like the flutter of little wings won't be far behind.The pair began constructing a nest a few weeks ago, but a strong wind knocked it from the ledge.

The Franklin consulted with experts at the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and learned the hawks would not abandon the nest if people moved it back into place.

Before the move, however, a wood extension was placed on the ledge to help keep the nest in place.

The hawks returned, and continued working on the nest.

"To see something like this, so close, right on our building has been amazing," said Denice Frohman, a Franklin Institute employee.

On March 9th, an egg was seen inside the nest, and more may be on the way.

RELATED SLIDESHOW: Hawks nesting at The Franklin

RELATED VIDEO: Live picture of the hawk nest courtesy of The Franklin

Experts say the female lays the eggs one at a time, approximately every other day. The number of eggs is related to the availability of food in the area, as a well-fed female is likely to lay more eggs.

"She's been here a lot more often, nesting and incubating the egg, and it's just been an amazing experience to watch them build their little family," said Franklin Institute employee Mary Trishman.

As it turns out, the ledge at The Franklin is the perfect spot for a red-tailed hawk nest.

"They tend to nest not only in trees, but on cliffs and ledges, so this gave them an ideal nesting site," said Franklin CEO Dennis Wint.

The nest is a circular assembly of sticks and twigs, lined with softer pieces. It appears that The Franklin's hawks have used newspaper scraps and feathers to soften their nest. Tree bark and leaves are also known to be used in nesting.

Incubation of the clutch lasts for 28-35 days. The female is most responsible for incubation, but the male will substitute when the female needs to exercise or hunt.

About 43-45 days after hatching, the babies (known as nestlings) will begin to leave the nest to learn to fly and hunt.

At 10 weeks, they will leave the nest for good.

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