You can observe the activities of the goshawks at RMK’s nursery in Tartu via a camera 04.03

Right now, you can mainly see the male bird Ruudi setting their nest on the camera, his partner Alla comes in from time to time to check his work.

Now you can be part of the lives of goshawks Ruudi and Alla, who inhabit in the Tartu RMK nursery, via a nest camera. Hopefully, we will soon how the female bird starts to hatch eggs and, if everything goes well, we can observe the growing up of the goshawk family. Zoologist Tiit Hunt and technical expert Omar Neuland installed the camera.

Last year, the goshawks built a nest on top of the pine tree in the nursery and raised up four cubs there who all were rung.
Urmas Abel, who is interested in raptors, remarked that the hawks are right now “decorating their nest”.

“They make a depression in their nest – they usually put green pine branches to soften it and stronger twigs near the edge of the nest as windscreens,” Abel describes. The male bird mainly builds the nest but the female bird comes to check up on the “old man”’s work.

“She often sits next to the camera and screeches directly into the microphone,” Tiit Hunt, who frequently observes the actions of the birds via the camera, notes.

Tartu birdwatchers have known Ruudi and Alla since 2016 when Urmas Abel found them nesting on the poplar growing in the old military barracks in Raadi thanks to a hint from the Environmental Board. Even then, four chubby cubs were clambering while their mom was napping a few branches below on the same tree. The male bird was also on the move. Since they were nesting in Raadi, he was named Ruudi but his wife Alla which together makes a whimsical raadiruudialla.

Goshawk Alla checking Ruudi’s work on the nest. Photo: Screenshot

As far as we know, Ruudi has already built five nests out of which two are on poplar, one on the aspen (he did not nest there, a buzzard settled there, Ruudi built another nest for nesting), one on larch about 50 metres from the current nest and the last, which we can see on the camera, on pine. Ruudi and Alla are nesting at the nursery in Tartu for the third year.

In 2019, a transmitter was installed on Ruudi, thus birdwatchers can see his movements. The activity area of goshawks has mainly stayed within a five kilometre radius throughout the seasons, he has flown two times further on single occasions.

“What was surprising is that once he went to a goshawk habitat in a forest which is ten kilometres from Tartu and spent a few days there but he has not returned there since,”Abel notes.

The data of the last days shows that Ruudi likes to chill in the city centre at noon.

Female bird Alla could start laying eggs in the middle of March, the baby birds could hatch in May and fly out of the nest in July.

The feathers found underneath the nest represent what goshawks eat the most – hooded crows, western jackdaws, domestic pigeons; their diet has also usually included the long-eared owl. We have not seen the feathers of galliformes, e.g., hazel and black grouses and, fortunately, Ruudi and Alla have not taken any domestic fowls.

“Usually, young goshawks come into the garden to take chickens,” Abel notes and adds that Alla and Ruudi could be both around eight years old. Goshawks can live to be around twenty years old.

Based on Abel’s data, Alla and Ruudi are reportedly the first goshawks, who are inhibiting in Tartu. Now, two new pairs have joined them – one in Ihaste and one in Annelinn. But goshawks can be found in Tallinn, Elva, Keila, Haapsalu and, of course, in forest near Tartu. The population of goshawks in Estonia is estimated to be over 400 pairs.

You can watch the everyday life of Alla and Ruudi via RMK’s YouTube channel

Further information:
Tiit Hunt
Zoologist and nature photographer
+372 506 7488