Big Red and Arthur’s L1

14 July 2022

The following announcement was made by Cornell University:

Sad News, Young Hawk “L1” Found Dead

July 14, 2022

Fledgling L1 taking off from the ground.
Red-tailed Hawk fledgling “L1.” Photo by Cynthia Sedlacek

We are saddened to report to the hawk community that one of the fledglings from the 2022 Cornell Hawks cam has died. On the morning of July 14, a juvenile hawk was found dead on the roof of Cornell University’s Stocking Hall, where it was retrieved and delivered to the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital by a Cornell employee. Based on plumage characteristics and confirmed observations of fledglings L2 and L4 later that morning by local birders on the ground, the deceased hawk was identified as likely L1. Fledgling L3 is continuing treatment for an injury sustained on June 23.

Initial diagnostics suggest that L1 suffered a fatal collision near Stocking Hall. A necropsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, and we will share more information if it becomes available.

Fledgling birds must overcome many challenges as they navigate the world outside the nest, and most don’t survive their first year. The news of L1’s passing is also a sobering reminder of the risks that birds face while living in an urban environment like Cornell University’s campus. Window collisions are estimated to kill up to 1 billion birds per year in the United States alone.

Despite the efforts made by the Cornell Lab, campus staff, and members of the hawk cam community to keep the areas around the hawks’ territory as safe as possible, it remains a hazardous place for young birds. We will continue working with stakeholders on campus to identify and remediate areas of risk to make them safer for our local birds and wildlife.

During this difficult time, we’d like to thank the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital, our birders on the ground, and the Cornell Hawk cam community for their support.

The two remaining chicks in the wild are L2, the first to fledge, and L4. These two were the first to catch their own prey and officially become juveniles.

Condolences go out to Big Red and Arthur who do as much as they can to create beautiful free-flying Red-tail Hawks. The rest is up to us to try and protect them as best we can – with windows that have anti-strike coatings in public buildings, blocking off roads from cars during breeding season, putting anti-strike coatings on any enclosure that a bird could hit, etc. While we do not know what has happened to L1 for sure, we lost J1 to a window on the Cornell Campus. There are lovely people, boots on the ground, who work tirelessly to make sure that they do what they can to help the hawks at Cornell. Thank you to all of you!

1 Comment

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Oh Mary Ann another one for the list. It is very sad and I really am sorry it happened. May he/she Rest In Peace.
    They are so beautiful.
    Thanks for this update and prayers for the other 2 flying around and for the one in rehab. 🙏

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