Happy Birdday!!! Footage of wild hawk eggs hatching grips the internet

Footage of wild hawk eggs hatching grips the internet Białystok University Institute of Biology

Bird-spotters who spent months watching live footage of a pair of hawks waiting for their chicks to hatch have finally been rewarded after the eggs hatched on Thursday (May 3rd).

Hawk-Gawk video camera had been installed in the nest of the mating pair of northern goshawks in the Dojlidy forest district of north-eastern Poland by scientists at the Białystok University Institute of Biology.

The female had been incubating four eggs with the male also taking turns when he was not bringing fresh twigs to the nest.

By showing the lives of the goshawks, the scientists also wanted to “demystify” the birds, which are known to hunt chickens and pigeons. Consequently, they have a bad reputation among some, such as pigeon breeders. “Winters are hard for the goshawks because of the limited food,” Dr Paweł Mirski from the Institute of Biology explained. “In the woods then there are only Jays and Woodpeckers.”

Dr Mirski went on to say that goshawks are rarely seen because of their hunting strategy, “The goshawk prefers to lurk somewhere in the background of the woods and then have a sudden short chase with birds,” he said, adding that goshawks are sometimes called the “spirit of the forest.” While seeking a nest for the transmission, the scientists listened for the birds as they are so hard to see.

The birds can be found across the whole of Poland, although they are quite a rare species. There are an estimated four to five thousand pairs nationally. He noted, however, that they are often mistaken for other species, such as the common buzzard (about 50,000 pairs in Poland) or the marsh harrier, and people refer to all types of birds of prey as hawks.

As with all birds of prey, the female goshawk is larger than the male, Dr Mirski observed, noting that this is known as inverted sexual dimorphism. “With the goshawk the difference is in the order of 40 percent,” he elaborated. “You can see it sometimes on the camera. The female is bigger, heaver, broader. She has golden eyes and the male’s are more orange.” The male can weigh 700-800 grams and the female over a kilo. Dr Mirski also added that “the females rule the roost.”

The goshawks accepted the presence of the camera quite happily.