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Owls take over Presidio web cam nest from hawks

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(Courtesy Presidio Trust)

Last week, a pair of great horned owls landed a rare deal for the Bay Area: real estate in move-in condition with a view, Presidio Trust
officials said Monday.

The owls took over a red-tailed hawk nest, high up in a eucalyptus tree in the Presidio, that ecologists have been watching on a webcam since last year.

A live camera mounted on the nest shows the mother owl currently sitting on two eggs.

But there was drama before the owls moved in. The webcam shows a red-tailed hawk battling for possession of the nest on Feb. 2.

Last year, the webcam captured key moments of the red-tailed hawks building the nest, eggs hatching and parents feeding their young. The healthy fledglings and the parents left the nest last April.

The camera has since been named the “Presidio Raptor Cam,” giving ecologists rare views of the owls, which are difficult to view in the wild.

The incubation for the owl eggs is 30 to 37 days and the chicks are expected to emerge the first week of March.

Presidio ecologists have confirmed that the red-tailed hawks have backup nests and are monitoring them to learn their nesting site.

The raptor cam was installed in the eucalyptus tree in 2018. Its location is secret, so as not to disturb the birds, Presidio Trust officials said.

The great horned owl is one of the most common owls in North America, but its population is in decline, according to the Cornell Lab of
Ornithology. The owls usually adopt a nest built by another species, usually a hawk, crows, ravens, herons or squirrels.

-By Kathleen Kirkwood, Bay City News

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