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Red-tailed mother hawk in nest looking upward

Feb 8, 2018

Presidio Discoveries: Watch Live Webcam of a Red-Tailed Hawk’s Nest

The "Raptor Cam" lets you watch the baby chicks grow.


​In spring 2018 love was in the air – particularly for Presidio birds. It was the beginning of nesting season for hummingbirds and raptors (aka, birds of prey, such as the eagle, hawk, owl, or falcon), and we spotted a cozy couple of Red-tailed Hawks doing a little “nestoration” 100 feet up in one of the Presidio’s blue gum eucalyptus trees. Though we know many birds make their way through the park at this time of year as part of their annual migration, we know this lovely pair of hawks are actually year-round Presidio residents – the couple have returned to this same nest over the past few years.

To help you learn more about bird breeding behaviors in the park, the Presidio established a live video stream – similar to PG&E’s popular Peregrine falcons webcam or other live bird cams – of these “love birds.” We dubbed it “Raptor Cam,” and though we didn’t share the nest’s exact location (we wanted to give this couple a little privacy), over the months together we observed this pair as they made a home for their young, and watched as their small chicks made their way from egg to first flight.

The love birds had two chicks, and then our baby hawks flew the coop. We were sad to see them go, but through this brief video, you can re-live their journey from egg to flighty (and suddenly very big) baby hawks.

Watch a brief video about the Presidio’s Red-tailed Hawk Chicks >>

Watch the highlights playlist form the Raptor Cam on the Presidio’s Youtube Channel >>

A Few Cool Facts and Resources:

  • The Presidio is an important stop on the Pacific Flyway, the major north-south flyway for migratory birds, which means it’s a hotspot for birdwatching with 323 different types of birds spotted (so far!) in the park.
  • Around this time of year, plenty of birds stop-off in the Presidio to build, or rehabilitate, a nest for the season.
  • It usually takes between 3-7 days for Red-tailed Hawks to build a nest, or in this case, prep the nest for the season.
  • After eggs are laid, chicks hatch in 28-35 days.
  • Did you know Red-tailed Hawks can be the size of a small dog, yet only weigh about three pounds?! Learn more! One great birding resource is Cornell University’s website, All About Birds. They’ve got the low-down on everything from the mating habits of hawks to how the raspy screech of a Red-tailed Hawk is the “go-to” audio for all raptors in Hollywood films.
  • We’re always looking to learn more about the park’s ecology; while you’re in the Presidio, look up into the sky and all around you…then share your observations with us through the California Academy of Science’s iNaturalist app!

Note: This live cam is dedicated to one of the earliest supporters of the project – the park’s late forester, Peter Ehrlich.