They’re so ugly they’re cute!

Red-tailed Hawk [Buteo jamaicensis]
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Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth [Bradypus variegatus]One of the best things about this time of year, spring in the mountains, are all the nesting birds. We never know where we're going to find them. But here in a deep ravine found by a friend of ours in southern Colorado is a nest of Red-tailed Hawks with 3 youngsters growing by leaps and bounds, almost visibly.
Birds of prey, raptors generally use the same nests year after year and build upon them as needed. Its hard to know how long this particular nest has been used but from our friends recollections this one has been occupied in spring for at least 4 years. From our observations, its a good location for an abundance of food and with the tree situated in the middle of the ravine, there are plenty of nearby Ponderosa Pines to perch in to watch over the kids.
Here the threesome makes use of their time picking at the food left in the nest as well as inspecting each other. In the other shot the Red-tailed Hawk [Buteo jamaicensis] chicks rest hunkered down with an attentive adult, holding a pine needle sprig brought to the nest, something most accipiters do. They'll bring fresh green leaves or conifer needle clusters to the nest to either provide concealment from above, serve as a natural coolant, or reduce odors and fungal growths. Conifer needles contain aromatic chemicals, called terpenes, which is believed to may repel insects and prevent fungal diseases.
Red-tailed Hawk [Buteo jamaicensis]
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Barbara Magnuson & Larry Kimball
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