St. Joseph's University's hawks now parents of at least two hatchlings

It's feeding time for the hawk hatchlings at St. Joseph's University. Already famous from the webcam set up to observe them, they'll get a mention in the school's commencement ceremony Saturday.
It's feeding time for the hawk hatchlings at St. Joseph's University. Already famous from the webcam set up to observe them, they'll get a mention in the school's commencement ceremony Saturday. (CHRISTOPHER O. DIXON)
Posted: May 18, 2014

Nearly 13,000 viewers have tuned in since St. Joseph's University trained a webcam in April on a pair of hawks nesting on campus. This week, they got a bonus: chicks.

At least two fuzzy little heads have been spotted in the nest atop a towering pine, next to the pedestrian bridge that arches over City Avenue into Philadelphia.

"The first chick hatched earlier this week (probably Monday) and we think the second hatched yesterday," biology Professor Michael McCann said in an e-mail Thursday. "With luck, there might be a third egg in the nest."

Red-tailed hawks frequently fly over the St. Joseph's campus, thus its mascot and nickname, Hawk Hill. But it's rare for them to nest on campus. Most hawks nest in the wild.

The green space on campus, however, is the right habitat for hawk food.

"We got some good views of the two little ones today as mom (now named "Crimson") was feeding them a squirrel dinner," McCann, also associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote in his e-mail. The male is called Grey.

The campus community has been excited since the hawks first were spotted nesting in late March. The excitement grew after "Hawkcam" was installed.

To underscore the prominence the birds have gained on campus, they will have a role in Saturday's commencement.

University president the Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie plans to link the nesting pair to members of the Class of 1964 who have returned to campus for their 50th reunion. He will tell them:

"Thank you for returning to Hawk Hill and for considering St. Joseph's your home, as so many others have, including a pair of actual hawks . . . who I'm told have successfully hatched some young hawks. Just as classes leave and return, the circle of life at SJU continues."


ssnyder@phillynews.com

215-854-4693 @ssnyderinq

www.inquirer.com/campusinq

To see the Hawkcam, go to: www.sju.edu/int/resources/sustainability/hawkcam.html

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