A Famous Bird Leaves the Nest

by / Friday, 24 June 2011 / Published in Blog - Space Log
Pip, New York's favorite hawk

Pip, New York’s favorite hawk

Most kids don’t leave home for the first time until they have finished high school, and some much later. How would you feel if you had been expected to leave home after just 49 days of life? This might sound crazy for humans, who at 49 days old are still just babies, but for birds this is perfectly normal. In fact, one NY bird who has gotten quite a bit of attention in her short life just flew the coop.

Pip, a Red-tailed hawk was born to parents Bobby and Violet in a nest on a ledge of New York University’s Bobst Library. Thousands of fans have charted her progress with via internet cameras and photographs. You can follow along Pip’s timeline on the New York Times website.

Red-tailed hawks mate for life and while Pip’s parents gave her excellent care in her nesting days, upon leaving the nest she will be expected to care for herself. Other than providing a few meals for her in the very first days after fledging, Pip’s parents will probably never see her again. Such is the way with hawks and birds in general.

Just before noon yesterday, Pip took a few practice flaps on the ledge she called home and then soared into the air like an old pro. Her parents watched closely and hoped for the best, as did all her adoring fans via webcam. Fans even voted to give Pip her name. She will make her home in trees in nearby Washington Square Park and if she survives the first year, will most likely have a good life.


You can color your own Red-tailed hawk on NASA’s interactive coloring game, Color NASA. There are Red-tailed hawks making their home at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.