Hildacy Farm Preserve
By Mike Coll
While southeastern Pennsylvania is dominated by red-tailed hawks, it is a pair of red-shouldered hawks that have made Hildacy Farm Preserve—where I live and work—their territory. Last year, a pair nested in a white pine tree just off the southern edge of the preserve and successfully fledged two young hawks.
The adult hawks remained at Hildacy throughout the year. Many red-shouldered hawks migrate south in the fall, but apparently this pair was able to continue to find enough food to sustain them through the cold months. When spring arrived, the pair constructed a new nest less than a hundred yards from the Natural Lands Trust office building. During the construction of the nest, both birds were often seen and heard flying over the office and defending their territory.
The new nest was completed in late March and, based on a change in the hawks’ behavior, I expect that eggs were laid in the first week of April. The pair took turns incubating the eggs and tried to draw as little attention to themselves as possible.
In early June, I spotted three young birds in the nest. They remained in the nest for five to six weeks, until they were the same size as the adults and ready to go hunt for themselves.
Hildacy Farm Preserve is a little oasis of nature in the bustling Philadelphia suburbs. I love that I get to both live and work here to be able to observe the red-shouldered hawks and other wildlife, which are thriving because they have the habitat to do so.