RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Far out on the remote coastal prairie of southernmost Texas, a White-tailed hawk soars toward her nest, disappearing momentarily behind the large jumble of sticks she suddenly rises with wings spread and gracefully touches down.

The wary hawk watches for any hint of danger and then begins to gently feed her chick. The week-old youngster’s downy head barely protrudes over the edge of the bulky nest.

Both the male and female hunt for their offspring, and although they have only one nestling the pair stay busy feeding themselves and caring for the rapidly growing eyas or young hawk.

Multiple trips to the nest are made daily as they airlift in an assortment of prey from snakes, lizards, and rodents to large insects.

At a couple of weeks old, Junior now sits plumply atop the nest and eagerly devours meaty morsels carefully torn for him.

White-tailed hawks are a tropical species that don’t venture north of the South Texas coastal prairie. These magnificent raptors are slate gray with an immaculate white chest, epaulettes of rich chestnut color, and sport a distinctive black-tipped white tail.

Not only do the adults tirelessly hunt for their young, but regularly drop in with yet another stick to add to the already impressive nest.

And when adults are away, Junior tests out those little wings just to see what they are for.

At some five weeks, the eyas displays remarkable growth and stands tall in the nest as another meal soars in.

He still likes to be fed though, and patiently waits for tidbits to be carefully offered.

Now, nearly as large as his parent, he watches as she lifts off marveling at her flight.

Time for some “wingercising,” but better wait a few days before taking off, as he does appear to need a bit more practice.