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Baby Raccoons

While looking for owls on Thursday, I found these three baby raccoons.  Their tree had been trimmed after a branch had fallen.  There mother was inspecting the changes and these three went exploring around their cavity.

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Brown Heads At The Cathedral

The eyasses continue to grow up at the Cathedral.  Two of the eyasses have brown feathers on their heads now.  They're still a ways from fledging, but they're growing up fast.

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The mother on the Archangel's wing, rather than the trumpet.

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All three eyasses.

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There fuzzy gray down is almost all gone.

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They've begun to use the Morningside edge of the nest, which means one must walk half a block to photograph each angle.  I guess as they get more active, we'll have to be more active too.

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The father on the left, and the mother on the right.


Riverside Church Peregrine Falcons 2007

I visited Riverside Church after work to see how their pair of Peregrine Falcons were doing.  Both were visible, one perched on the northwest corner, and one flying around the church tower when I arrived.  I hope this is a sign that their eggs have hatched, but we won't know for a few weeks.

Update: Robert Schmunk saw two nestlings peaking out from the Falcon's scrape on Sunday, June 3rd.  So, we'll have fledglings within a few weeks.

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Fordham University, Bronx, New York

The Fordham University Rose Hill campus has a nest on Collins Auditorium.  This is the nest location's second year.   Both years have been successful with three eyasses last year, and three this year.

Chris Lyons and Dr. Rich Fleisher both work at Fordham and send regular reports via Rob Jett's City Birder Blog and Dr. Richard Fleisher's page at Fordham.

The parents have been nicknamed Hawkeye and Rose.  Alan Alda is an alumnus of Fordham, so Hawkeye is named after Alan Alda's character on the television program M.A.S.H.  Rose, the female is named after the campus.

The campus is a traditional College setting with lawns, gardens and footpaths.  The campus is adjacent to Bronx Park, a 718 acre park home to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.

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Collins Auditorium.  The nest is located on the left side of the pediment and the eyasses can walk along the entire ledge.

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The three eyasses and their mother, Rose.  These are the fifteen, sixteenth and seventieth eyasses, I've seen in New York City this season.  Thanks to all of the individuals, who made visiting these sites possible.

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Liftoff.

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They're doing lots of wing flapping, with plenty of room to practice on the long, wide ledge.

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Hawkeye on a lighting fixture, a quarter mile from the nest.

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Rose flew to a building across Fordham Avenue in the early evening.

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All three keep track of a Monk Parakeet as it flew by, including the eyas at the back who is peaking out on the left.

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As it got cooler, more wing flapping.

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All three eyasses.

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Prospect Park, Brooklyn

I asked Rob Jett, who has one of the best birding blogs on the Internet, City Birder, if he would give directions to the Prospect Park nest.  He said sure, but that he would need to take me in person.

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Once he took me, I understood why.  There are only two small windows, from two locations to see the nest.  The nest is in the center of this photograph.

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One eyas was partially visible when we arrived.

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We went to the alternate viewing location and couldn't see any activity, so we returned to the original spot.

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There are two eyasses on the nest.  One on the far left partially obscured by the large branch and a second eyas on the right.

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Here the eyas on the left has moved slightly, and the one on the right has its eye closed.

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City nests on buildings are looking more and more wonderful everyday.  These tree nests are too hard to photograph!

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Another shot of the duo.

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A solo shot of the one that had been on the right.

These two eyasses bring the eyasses I've seen in person and photographed to 14 for the season!  All on one Metrocard.

                               
Location        No.
Inwood Hill2
Highbridge Park3
St. John the Divine3
Astoria Park, Queens2
Green-Wood, Brooklyn2
Prospect Park, Brooklyn2
14 Total

Green-Wood on Memorial Day

Green-Wood commemorated their fallen Civil War soldiers on Memorial Day.  They are in the midst of a research and restoration project to provide new tombstones for their Civil War soldiers buried in the Cemetery.

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Canons and gun fire would startle the Red-tails later in the morning.  Both parents took up positions to keep an eye on the crowd.  The military section of the cemetery is very close to the nest.

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I forgot to take a wide shot of the nest yesterday.  It is in the tree in the middle of the photograph.  The cemetery welcomes birders, but I was reminded that one should respect the primary purpose of the cemetery.  This includes leaving an area, if anyone seems uncomfortable.

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A tighter shot of the nest.  If you look closely, you'll see an eyas standing.

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The nest has a great view being on a high hill, but it looks to be a bit sunny.

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The mother in a tree about 100 feet away from the nest.

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A photograph to show wing development.

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The first canon shot startles the mother and she returns to a perch at the top of the nest tree.

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What are you doing up there Mom?

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A Northern Mockingbird.

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The hawks get used to the noise and visitors.  This must be a big change from what must be a very quite location.

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Green-Wood

I went to Green-Wood Cemetery for the first time on Sunday.  It looks like a great place for a Red-tailed Hawk family.

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Big Mama on her nest.

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Junior trying to raid a nest while being harassed by a Mockingbird.

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The Mockingbird was relentless and Junior moved on.

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Junior is Big Mama's new mate, not one of the young ones, by the way.

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A close up of Big Mama's very light eyelids.  I thought they were lighter than I had remembered other Red-tails having, but I reviewed some old photographs and they're the same as other Red-tails.

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Her kids have them too.

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The nest has two chicks.

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While we were there a Turkey Vulture passed through.  Both parents were quick to fly off and escort the Vulture out of the area.

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The Turkey Vulture leaving the area!

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They eyasses finally wake up and become active.

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Big Mama returns to a nearby tree.

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Before returning to the nest.


Confirming Three at St. John's Cathedral

I was able to confirm that we have three chicks at the St. John's site this weekend.

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The eastern edge of the nest is being used by both the parents and the eyasses now.  So, you have to check from two angles one from Morningside Drive, and one from 113th Street.

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The mother on the Plant building of St. Luke's.  (The building is named after a person with the last name of Plant rather than being from physical plant.)

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The mother moves to a spot close to the nest on the Cathedral.

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Yes, I'm going to make you run up and down Morningside drive to find me.

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You can see all three eyasses here.

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All three are here too.

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Here too.

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All three are here too, but finding the third is like playing Where's Waldo?.

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They're growing up nicely.  Activity is also increasing. If you haven't visited the nest this season, now is the time.

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The mother leaving the nest.

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She quickly came back with a branch.

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She then left and the kids settled down, so I went off to Green-Wood.


Inwood Hill Park, Week 6

It was a hot day, and only one little window through the leaves is still open to take photographs of part of the Inwood Hill Red-tailed Hawk nest.   I only saw one eyas today, but I'm not worried.  About two thirds of the nest is now obscured from view.  It was a hot afternoon and I suspect the second eyas was keeping cool in the shade.

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A head appears.  After no activity for over 30 minutes, I was afraid they had fledged.

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A parent arrives.  Note the eyas in the background.

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The parent rearranged some food and takes a few small bites.

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An eyas finally appears from behind the foliage.

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This may be their last week on the nest.


A Second Day in Astoria Park

My second day in Astoria Park started out slow on a hot sunny afternoon.  The eyasses were asleep and I couldn't find the parents.  I took a walk around the park, and when I returned to the track, the mother was on a lighting fixture.

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Soon the father arrived and landed briefly on a light fixture on the opposite side of the track.  He soon left and went at least ten blocks south.

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The mother stayed on the light fixture. 

I tried to track the adult male, but lost him and returned to the nest.

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I found the eyasses alone, but unlike before they were active.

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They try a few wing flaps before falling over.

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The mother returns.

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Feeding begins.

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Note the foot on the end of that chunk of meat.

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This piece is a little too big.

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The mother moves it around and tears of chunks for the eyasses.  At one point both eyasses fight over the same piece.

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Soon the eyasses settle down and within minutes are back to sleep, and I return to Manhattan.


Astoria Park, Queens, New York

On Thursday, I followed up on a report from Jules Corkery (via Marie Winn's blog) of a new Red-tailed Hawk nest in Astoria Park, on the Triborough Bridge.  I can confirm that there are two photogenic eyasses at the site.

The nest is located on the southern side of the Astoria portion of the bridge. The nest is easily accessible via public transportation. Astoria Park site is a short walk from the second to the last stop on the N/W subway line.  Except for the stairs up and down the elevated line, it is a nice flat six block walk.

Take the N or W to the Astoria Blvd. stop, exit to Hoyt Avenue South and walk towards the river.  At 21st Street is the entrance to Astoria Park, walk in and go to the middle of the tennis courts.  Look over to the bridge.  You'll see a large concrete structure that anchors the suspension cables.  On the right corner below the roadway you'll see the nest on a large drain pipe.

When I first arrived at the nest, I went right under it.  Within ten minutes of photographing the nest, a Police Officer threatened to give me a summonses for taking pictures.   Under current regulations while on MTA Bridge property, photography is prohibited.  I was very near the nest, so I may have been on MTA property when I was threatened with a summons.

However, it seems that photographing the bridge from public property is perfectly legal, so taking pictures from within Astoria Park would be perfectly fine. 

The ACLU has a suit against the city pending about ambiguous policies toward photographers.  It seems that the department has ambiguous policies which led to the accidental harassment of photographers.  I think my situation was similar to the problems birders have been having with scopes on tripods in city parks.  It's too bad well meaning Police Officers are stepping over the line, due to ambiguous policies and poor training.

I'm going to be careful while in Astoria and keep my 500mm lens out of sight of the guard station.  I understand the paranoia in these post 9/11 times, but I thought we lived in the USA and not the old USSR!

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The nest is next to a pigeon roost.  Imagine your meals flying by every few minute!

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The kids were asleep when I arrived.

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Two sleeping eyasses.

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One perks up.

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A preening eyas on the left.

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The adult female flies off toward the Astoria Park track.

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She's impressive.  Note the light color of her eyes.

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She does some half-hearted hunting on the underside of the bridge.

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She scrapes her beak on a railing when she returns.

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She flies off to a stadium light on the other side of the track.

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She then returns to the nest.

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Where she is greeted by two young ones.

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Brief Visit To The Cathedral

I had a late work meeting, so I could only spend about 30 minutes at the Cathedral.  One of the parents was on the Archangel when I arrived, and was soon joined for a few minutes by the other parent.  Their backs were turned to me, so it was hard to make a solid identification.

Then one of the eyasses decided to defecate and move around the nest for about five minutes.  Other than these two events, the nest was quiet.

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Fledge Date Guesses for Manhattan

If you've been looking at the Queen's Hawkcam, you'll notice that the young are close to fledging.  General wisdom is that it take between 42 and 46 days for a hawk to fledge.  I've tried to take a guess at what I think the Manhattan hatch dates were and calculated the approximate fledge dates.  Of course, the normal "Your mileage may vary" disclaimer applies here.

                                                           
EyassesHatch (Best Guess)+42+46
Queens Nestcam24/135/255/29
Highbridge34/175/296/2
Inwood Hill24/206/16/5
St. John34/276/86/12
888 7th Avenue14/296/106/14

One thing I'm sure of however, is that I need to spend this Memorial Day weekend visiting Highbridge and Inwood Hill Park before it's too late!


Two or Three

The evening started quietly with the mother on the Archangel, and the nest quiet.  Then the father came in and did a feeding with food which was already in the nest.  Afterwards the eyasses were full of activity, and at one point it looked like we had three babies in the nest.  We'll know for sure in a few days.

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The mother on the Archangel

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Dad comes in to do a feeding.

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The kids perk up.

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Wing development continues rapidly.

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Losing down.

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Although this looks dignified, the eyasses don't have much motor control yet and fall down a lot.  They're still at the toddler stage.

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Three eyasses are visible.  One flapping, one with its back to us behind the hand, and one on the right.

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The mother moves a little closer to the nest.

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The father in his parking lot rodent hunting mode.


Cathedral Activity Increasing

The Cathedral eyasses are becoming more and more active, so visiting the nest is more rewarding. 

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The father on St. Luke's.

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An eyas getting fed.

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Not too clear, but you can see an eyas on each side of the mother.

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They're still fuzzy, but are getting much bigger.

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A wing of one eyas and then the head of another.

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The father on the Archangel.

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The mother took a break, couldn't be found for about half an hour, and then was found on a building on 110th Street below Morningside Park.  She's in the golden light of the late evening sun.


888 Seventh Avenue Update

I just received a note from Brett Odom updating me on the status of the Seventh Avenue nest...

"Just wanted to give you an update.  Everything seems to be fine and the nest is in an ideal location for rainstorms similar to the one we had yesterday since it is protect from all sides.  Right now Charlotte is on the nest with the sleeping eyas and Junior is sitting on the Essex sign.

Regards,
Brett"

(For those not living in the New York area, yesterday, we had a severe thunderstorm roll through the area.  This new nest is full protected from such storms, while the old Central Park South nest would have been completely soaked and exposed high winds.)


St. John Babies

The St. John nest has at least two eyasses.

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The adult male on the Cathedral, near the Northwest parking lot.

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The adult female on St. Luke's

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The look to be about the same age as the chicks we found last year at this time. 

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There are two eyasses in this pictures, being feed by their mother.  I know it's tough to make them out.  I'm sure as they get bigger it will get easier to see that there are two eyasses in the nest. (Of course there could be three, but two is most likely at this point.)

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The adult male arrives to continue feeding the eyasses. 

I exit to see the Eastern Screech-Owl fly out in Central Park.


Sleepy Evening

I arrived around 6 p.m. to find both parents off the nest and the nest absolutely quiet. No sign of the eyas(ses) while I was there from about 6 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m.

The father stayed in one spot, about twenty feet from the nest the whole time I was there.  The mother shifted spots.  First she was on West 110th, then the southeastern Plant building chimney, then the ornament on the Plant building, which we've nicknamed the urn.

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The adult male on the Cathedral in a spot about twenty feet from the nest.

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The adult female on West 110th.

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The adult male from a different angle.

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The female on the southeast Plant chimney.

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She flies down to at least 116th Street surveying the area and then returns to the "urn" at the southeast corner of the Plant building.  This is only 15 feet from where she had been on the chimney.

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The father stays in his one spot.

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Here is a pictures that relates his position to that of the nest.

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I love the gargoyles on the Cathedral.

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The mother in the warm light of the setting sun.

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Inwood Hill Park, Week 4

The adult female and two eyasses were visible on the nest when I arrived but one eyas was almost fully hidden by a branch.  The Red-tailed Hawks seemed very relaxed, and enjoying the warm sunlight on a cool afternoon.

After I had packed up, the adult male arrived and circled the nest.  The adult female, then took off and joined him.  I lost both adults as they flew north.

Like the Highbridge nest, more and more leaves are in the way of the nest.  Future photographs have to be from the path below the nest.

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St. John on Saturday

I spent about an hour at the nest on Saturday.  I was able to see brief glimpses of the eyas(ses).  The nest seems to be one or two inches higher than last year.  This is making it much harder to get a clear view.

They'll be getting taller each day, so by next weekend it should be easy to figure out how many kids are in the nest.  But for now, we just have to wait.

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An eyas is next to it's mother on the right.

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The mother leaving the nest.

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She perches on St. Luke's for about thirty minutes.

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A head appears every five minutes or so.

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Peaking out at the world.

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The adult female continues to sit on St. Luke's.

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She then does a brief tour of the area, before landing on the Archangel.