Enjoy this archived live conversation with artist and Red-tailed Hawk cam aficionado David Cohen as he explains the inspiration and craftsmanship behind his carving of the Cornell Hawks nest that is now on display at Cornell University’s Corson-Mudd Hall.
Watch Red-tailed Hawk chick J2 fledge at 7:46 AM on June 12. From this vantage point, we can see the chick slip off of one of the light fixtures attached to the platform and make a confident flight across the street!
A Red-tailed Hawk pair has been nesting above Cornell University’s athletic fields since at least the 2012, making use of two different light towers for their nest sites. In 2012 and 2015, they used a tower near Fernow Hall, and in 2013, 2014, and 2016, they used the tower nearest Weill Hall. We installed cameras at both of these sites to get a better look at the intimate behavior of these well-known birds as they raise their young amid the bustle of a busy campus.
On April 27, 2012, the expert birders on Team Sapsucker recorded 264 species in 24 hours—a pace of 11 new species every hour of the day, including before dawn and after sunset. This video condenses those 24 hours into 4 minutes. Watch as the birds flash by.
Note: Video shows 236 of the 264 species seen. These photos were not taken during the Big Day.
Big Day has been a tradition at the Cornell Lab for three decades. It’s also been our single biggest conservation fundraiser each year. So as the reality of the pandemic shutdown became clear last month, we had to make some adjustments.
A typical Big Day sees Team Sapsucker heading far afield to highlight global conservation challenges such as migratory pathways and sensitive habitats. But faced with stay-at-home orders, we’ve decided to do what birders everywhere are doing: celebrate our home turf.
Big Day is scheduled for May 9, and Team Sapsucker will take to the fields and back roads of the New York Finger Lakes region (as local restrictions allow) to enjoy spring birding during the height of migration. We hope you’ll join us in spirit by birding from your home as well. Stay tuned for more info coming soon, and please stay safe.
Thanks the Cornell Lab FeederWatch cam’s new night vision feature, we can now see all the visitors who stop by the feeder after the sun goes down! Watch this flying squirrel zip onto the platform, where it would stay feasting for about 10 minutes before venturing out of view.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology writes:
Since 2012, the Cornell Lab FeederWatch cam has been known for its binge-worthy broadcast of our feathered friends from the Treman Bird Feeding Garden right outside our visitor center. We’re excited to announce that the cam you know and love has just received a 4K ultra high definition facelift! Tune in now for crisp, colorful views of your favorite Northeastern feeder birds in the highest resolution available. Thanks to the new cam’s night vision capabilities, you can stay up late and see all the action after the sun goes down (including late-nite visits from flying squirrels, see below). Watch cam here.
Scientists who study these fish are still mostly in the dark about the bacteria, which share a symbiotic relationship with the fish. Researchers knew from an earlier study that, based on their genomes, these bacteria did not appear to be fully equipped to live on their own outside of a host.
“In previous work that I had done, we found for the symbionts of deep-sea anglerfish that the bacteria have undergone genomic reductions; they’ve lost a lot of genes, suggesting that they are probably obligately dependent on their host,” said Tory Hendry, assistant professor of microbiology at Cornell University and the paper’s senior author.
A reduced genome is a hallmark of bacteria that live their whole lives inside a host and receive services and nutrients that they no longer need instructions to acquire. Such species then lack the genetic “software” to survive on their own.
In the study, the researchers obtained previously collected specimens of seven species of anglerfish across six families. They also studied the only two species of bioluminescent bacteria known to live within the bulbs of anglerfish. While one species of bacteria was specifically only found in one species of fish, the other bacteria species was found in all six of the remaining species studied.
The fish were each caught in different locations, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Cape Verde islands. While some were caught almost 20 years apart, the bacteria in the bulbs were 99% identical.
Another study by collaborators in the DEEPEND Consortium revealed that anglerfish only acquire bacteria later in life once their light organ has developed. The bulb has a little pore in it, and the researchers wonder if the fish may spew bacteria into the environment once microbe populations grow, possibly to ensure that future generations of young fish have access to the luminous microbes in the water.
A team of engineers and marine biologists built a better suction cup inspired by the mechanism that allows the clingfish to adhere to both smooth and rough surfaces. Researchers reverse engineered the clingfish’s suction disk and developed devices that cling well to wet and dry objects both in an out of water. The devices can hold up to hundreds of times their own weigh: here.
Study explores the possible benefits of rare behavior
May 2, 2019
Summary: In some acorn woodpecker family groups, related females lay eggs in the same nest and raise the chicks cooperatively with one or more related males
Acorn Woodpeckers live in close-knit family groups and have one of the most complex breeding systems of any bird in the world. In about 20 percent of family groups, up to 3 related females may lay eggs in the same nest. They raise the chicks cooperatively with one or more related males. This behavior is known as joint nesting or “cooperative polyandry”. Only five other species of birds worldwide are known to do this. The reasons that may be driving the behavior are outlined in a study recently published in The American Naturalist.
Lead authors Sahas Barve at Old Dominion University (Cornell Ph.D. ’17), and Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Walt Koenig, used demographic data collected during 35 years (1982-2016) at the Hastings Natural History Reservation in central coastal California. They analyzed the costs and benefits of joint nesting, hoping to explain why some woodpecker females exhibit this rare behavior.
They found that joint nesting was more common in years when Acorn Woodpecker population density was high, all the breeding territories were occupied, and opportunities for a female to nest on her own were very unlikely.
Although nesting with others reduces the number of offspring each female can produce compared to when she nests alone, Barve says such females make the “best of a bad situation” by nesting jointly with their mother or sister rather than not nesting at all because of the lack of real estate.
Females that decide to nest jointly do so in groups where there are two or more breeder males, thus increasing the number of caregivers and the total number of chicks that females can successfully raise. Years of population boom may have therefore been an important mechanism driving the evolution of such highly social behaviors like joint nesting among Acorn Woodpeckers.
The Bird Cams [of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology] shared a window into the intimate lives of wild birds with millions of viewers from across the globe in 2018. Watch the top moments from a year that brought us unforgettable perspectives, lasting memories, and new discoveries. As always, thanks for watching and learning along with us!
The hawks’ first chick has officially emerged from its shell! Watch fluffy-headed hatchling clumsily wriggle around the nest bowl underneath BR [Big Red, the female]’s watchful eye. Interestingly, this chick is from egg #2, meaning it hatched prior to the hawks’ first egg (which is also well on it’s way to hatching). Welcome to the world H1!
After nearly a year of uncertainty following the death of Big Red’s former mate Ezra, we’ve all wondered if and when Big Red would find a new mate, and whether they might nest again on one of the Red-tailed Hawk cams. Thankfully, as the months have progressed, it has become clear that she’s formed a bond with a new companion and that they are investing in nestbuilding on the tower opposite Fernow Hall (the “original” site that was live streamed back in 2012). Nothing is ever a sure thing, but we are cautiously optimistic that they will attempt to nest at the Fernow site this year.
Back in 2012, we worked with the viewing community to name Big Red’s former mate Ezra, and we would like to continue that tradition. You can submit a name until February 25 using the form at right. After the submissions end, five potential names will be chosen from the submitted names and you’ll be able to vote on your favorite choice.
Thanks for taking the time to help name Big Red’s new companion!