Syracuse University Red-Tailed Hawk Family

Otto in the nest

Otto in the nest, February 2017.  (Photo by Anne Marie Higgins)

TIMELINE (2011 - Present)

(Most recent updates will appear at top of page. Check back again soon for frequent updates.)

March 20, 2017

  • Official launch of the SU red-tailed hawk nest cam.
  • Began continuous 24/7 LIVE online video and audio stream hosted on the SU Biology Department website.
  • Read the College of Arts and Sciences article.
  • Watch the SU News video.

2 parents 1 egg

Otto (L) and SU-Sue (R) in the nest with their first egg, March 20, 2017.  (Photo taken via the SU Hawk Nest Cam)

March 19, 2017

  • SU-Sue lays her first egg. For the first time ever, SU-Sue's egg laying was viewed LIVE via the newly installed hawk nest cam.

March 4 - 18, 2017

  • Otto and SU-Sue were observed mating on multiple occasions.
  • SUNY has been observed several times near the Life Sciences Complex, but not in the nest.

March 3, 2017

  • Webcams and microphones were installed in both the North and South archways of Lyman Hall.
  • Began continuous 24/7 video and audio capture for reseach data collection.
  • Otto and SU-Sue were observed mating just after 9:00 AM on the Life Sciences Complex (on the roof-level railing of the West wing).
  • All 3 adults (Otto, SU-Sue, and SUNY) were observed flying near Lyman Hall in the early morning before the installation began.

March 2, 2017

  • PTZ camera was installed on the 4th floor of the Life Sciences Complex.
  • Began continuous 24/7 video capture of long-range view of the North archway.

February 28, 2017

  • For the first time during the 2017 season, Otto and SU-Sue were observed mating just before 8:00 AM.

Late January - February 2017

  • Parents began replenishing twigs in the South nest of the North archway on Lyman Hall, and continued to build up the nest throughout February.

adult hawk

Close up of SU-Sue, the female parent.  (Photo by Anne Marie Higgins)


December 27, 2016

  • Two juveniles from the 2016 brood were seen in Oakwood Cemetery. SU-Sue was seen nearby with prey. It is very rare to see a parent "food drop" this late after fledging.

Fall - Winter 2016

  • Observers continued to monitor the three adults and their offspring. Photographs and reports of sightings were posted regularly on the Syracuse Hawk Chatters Facebook page.

September 8, 2016

  • Beau was buried on the SU campus and a memorial service was held.
  • View the service.

August 23, 2016

  • After spending the night in a tree next to Machinery Hall, Beau flew back to the SU Quad and into the reflective window of the Physics Building. He did not survive the collision.

August 22, 2016

August 11, 2016

  • After spending 24 days recovering from a bruised right wing, Aurora was released back to the SU campus on the Quad, and her parents resumed caring for her.
  • View the release.

July 18, 2016

  • Another juvenile (named "Aurora") was found injured near a tree in front of the Hall of Languages. She was able to walk, but she could not fly and her right wing was drooped. She was taken to local wildlife rehabilitator Cynthia Page for evaluation.

July 11, 2016

  • A Facebook page—Syracuse Hawk Chatters—was started for observers to post photographs and daily accounts of the activities of the SU red-tailed hawks.

June 29, 2016

  • One of the six juveniles (named "Beau") was found injured on the ground in the parking lot near Smith Hall. He was transported to the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center at Cornell University, where vets determined that he had sustained severe head trauma and eye damage after presumably flying into a window. He was admitted to their intensive care unit.

June 14 - 21, 2016

  • The remaining five chicks fledged, and the three parents began their busy season of "prey drops" and teaching the juveniles how to live outside the nest.

June 11, 2016

  • The first chick fledged. First, it landed on a fence railing near a fraternity house, and then flew to a tree, after which one of the parents delivered its first meal outside the nest.
  • View the day's events: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3

Spring 2016

  • Otto and SU-Sue and another adult female red-tail (named SUNY) were observed together through the winter and into the spring. In preparation for the chicks, the adults refurbished the nest on the North side of the South archway of Lyman Hall. Six chicks hatched in late April or early May and were raised by the three adults. As the chicks began to grow too large for one nest, they walked across the archway ledge to the Southern nest. This ledge was used as a training platform for the chicks to flap their wings in preparation for fledging.


  • Otto and SU-Sue refurbished the nest on the South side of the South archway of Lyman Hall. Two chicks hatched and fledged successfully.


  • Otto and SU-Sue refurbished the nest on the South side of the South archway of Lyman Hall. Two chicks hatched and it is presumed that they fledged successfully.


  • Otto and SU-Sue built a new nest on the South side of the South archway of Lyman Hall. It is not known how many eggs were laid, but one chick hatched and it is presumed that it fledged successfully.


  • Otto and SU-Sue built a new nest on the South side of the North archway of Lyman Hall. There were no live hatches that year. An SU employee recalled looking down and seeing two eggs in the nest while he was working on the roof. There is no way to know if these eggs weren't viable and were abandoned, or if something else happened to the eggs.


  • A pair of red-tailed hawks built a nest on a ledge on Link Hall. One egg was laid, but it did not hatch and the pair abandoned the nest. It is not known for sure whether that pair was Otto and SU-Sue, but it is a possibility. A webcam was set up, and in a photograph that was posted on the SU website, the female does resemble SU-Sue.

NOTE:  All of the above information from 2011 to 2015 is based on a retrospective history gathered from interviews with Syracuse University employees and avid hawk watchers. Beginning in July 2016, observers began reporting their observations and posting photos on the Syracuse Hawk Chatters Facebook page.

Related Pages:

hawk landing on nest

One of the adults displays its signature red tail, February 2017.  (Photo by Tom Durr)

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