Hawk cam turns into a red-tailed reality show - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hawk cam turns into a red-tailed reality show

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(CBS 8) - Viewers around the world are watching a growing family at Cornell University - like a hawk. They're logging on to a live stream of a red-tailed hawk's nest on campus and checking in with their chicks.

The mesmerizing 24-7 webcam gives anyone with internet access the chance to get a "hawk's eye view" of these birds' entire birthing process - from building the nest too nurturing the young.

The family consists of the mama named Big Red, the papa is Ezra and their growing brood of impossibly adorable baby chicks.

For the past three years, this pair of red-tailed hawks and their captivatingly cute offspring have become "reality" stars on the campus of Cornell University in upstate New York, as thousands of internet viewers around the globe get an up-close-and-personal view of nesting season in real time, sharing their observations and their awe through a live on-line chat.

A set of high-tech webcams - complete with remote-controlled zoom, focus and infrared capabilities, live streams nearly every moment, day or night, from the hawks' home, which is perched 80 feet above on a light pole on the school's campus.

From the building and buttressing of their cozy nest, to 11-year-old Big Red laying her clutch of three eggs over a week's time in late March, sometimes in single-digit temperatures.

After several weeks of protectively incubating the eggs, it's the amazing moment faithful viewers are waiting for as each chick - the first one in the darkness of night - breaks through its shell. It’s a process called pipping.

And after hatching, these newborn nestlings become the star attraction, as they morph from little balls of fuzz, weighing only a couple ounces, to active, bouncing, chirping chicks ready to take on the world and eventually fly the nest.

This isn't the only Nest Cam sponsored by Cornell, you can also get an up-close look at everything from the great Blue Heron - also on the university's campus - to the Laysan Albatross in Hawaii.

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