hawk

Mother's Day surprise! Egg hatches live on Hawk Cam

May 6, 2011 at 1:29 PM ET

The president's visit to Ground Zero Thursday was big news for The New York Times, but another story has been captivating the newspaper and its readers: The emergence of a red-tailed hawk in a nest outside a prominent city window, a delivery that finally happened Friday morning, despite word that the egg was not going to hatch.

"Happy Mother's Day, Violet" said the newspaper which, along with the hawk expert it was consulting, had given up on any of the three eggs in Violet's nest getting a visit from the stork, so to speak.

"Never have we been so ecstatic to be wrong," said the Times on its Hawk Cam Web page, also being streamed on Livestream.

"Days after we wrote that the hatch-by date had expired on Violet the red-tailed hawk’s eggs, an eyass (that’s what baby hawks are called) emerged on Friday morning."

Thousands have been following the saga of mom Violet and mate Bobby, who made a nest for Violet's three eggs on the ledge outside the office of the office of New York University president John Sexton.

"Around 10:20 a.m. we, and many of you, caught a glimpse of an adorable black-eyed fuzzball," said the Times Friday. " It came while we were on the phone with John Blakeman, the hawk expert who had told us it was too late for the eggs and who was thrilled to join us in a meal of crow and to provide answers to a flurry of questions."

Violet's eggs had been expected to hatch in mid- to late April. On Friday, the Times, in a Q-and-A, asked Blakeman why it took "so long" for the event to happen, that a witness reported the eggs in the nest March 24 or 25, "at least 42 days ago. Hawks can hover over their eggs for a week before settling down to begin proper incubation, but that still leaves 35 days."

His paraphrased answer: "Thirty-five days is right at the limit for how long hawk eggs can incubate before hatching. Also, the reported egg sighting on March 24 or 25 might have been erroneous." And this direct quote:

"I don't mean to impugn anyone's integrity on the matter, but there may have been something else in the nest," Mr. Blakeman said. "Certainly, proper incubation began later than any of us thought."

What about the two other eggs? It's possible they may still hatch. In the meantime, for those wanting to see the newbornon Hawk Cam, have patience, Blakeman says, as Violet and Bobby will be busy switching off protecting the little hawk, making it hard to see it. In a few days, he said, the baby will be more visible as it starts poking its head out from its protective parents.

"They're just like little babies," he told the Times. "They want to crawl around. Two or three days from now they'll look like a little ball of fur, just cute as can be. In a week or so it's going to be utterly entrancing."

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