In February 2000, two red-tailed hawks* built a bulky nest of branches, sticks and twigs behind an eagle statue on the North side of the Hartford Superior Courthouse. The pair quickly captured the attention of courthouse employees, attorneys, jurors and passersby as they flew through the air to the spot behind the eagle with sticks, twigs, straw and other material in their beaks. By the end of March the female hawk had laid eggs. In early April, on Easter weekend, two baby hawks were hatched, the older a girl, the younger a boy.
The parents took turns guarding the chicks in their nest and flying around the area searching for food. Hawk watchers flocked to see the young hawks grow. Sadly, however, the mother hawk was killed when she flew into a building or a tree while being chased by crows. That left the father to guard the nest and to find food for his young ones--something most thought impossible.
Well Papa Hawk did it because in late May, a few weeks after their mother died, two small heads began popping up from the nest. The chicks were alive and growing.
By mid-June, the girl hawk was fledged--which means, her feathers were completely grown and she flew out of the nest. In bird language young hawks that leave or are forced out of their nests are called fledglings. The young boy hawk soon followed. Though reluctant to leave their home behind the eagle statue, both hawks finally ventured forth. They could be found hunting for food with their father, perched in a tall pine tree behind the Supreme Court Building a block away, on ledges around the building--even looking at their images in windows.
For months their screeches could be heard in the treetops or they could be seen swooping through the sky searching for food.
Since that winter of 2000, red-tailed hawks have adopted the quadrant between the Hartford Superior Courthouse, the Supreme Court and the State Capitol in Hartford.
As a result, the Judicial Branch has chosen the two young hawks as our Courthouse guides. We hope that you enjoy learning about the Judicial Branch through the eyes of Justy, our girl hawk and Fledge, her brother.
*The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the most common hawks and lives in more habitats than any other hawk in North America. Red tailed hawks get their name from the brick red tails of mature adults, which they get after two or three years.
See a Slide Show of the Real Hawks!
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State of Connecticut Judicial Branch