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Western Tanager

A young Western Tanager has appeared in the park.  It does appear in Sibley's range maps as a rare visitor to the east, but I think this is the first one recorded in Central Park.

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50 Birds in 50 Days Follow Up

In March of 2008, I gave the following lecture:

50 Birds in 50 Days with Bruce Yolton
Saturday, Mar 29, 2008
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Bruce Yolton is an amateur photographer, popular blogger, and avid birder who has lived in New York City for over twenty years. Bruce discovered birding three years ago when Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates prompted him to walk every path in Central Park, and he has been hooked ever since. He shares his joy of learning about birds with others in his blog about Central Park birding, called Urban Hawks.

Now, you too can learn how to go from beginner to seasoned birder as Bruce shares his birding experiences and tips in person at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. In Bruce’s lecture presentation, 50 Birds in 50 Days, he will display his birding photographs, teach how to select a field guide and choose binoculars, and divulge the best walking routes and viewing spots in Central Park.

It was a great deal of fun to share my love of birding in Central Park.

If you missed the lecture, here is a summary of the links and the slides from the talk:


Lower East Side

The female is now brooding on the Lower East Side.  Locals report that she seems to be free of the plastic bag that was on her leg on Friday.  Luckily, the male picked up and send to a rehabber a few blocks north of the nest, turns out not to be part of this pair.

I received an email that suggested there was a rush to read her band number.  It was suggested that the school be contacted so someone could look out the window.  I would suggest restraint and wait until the juveniles fledge.

However, if someone wanted to contact the school to help them build an art and science curriculum based on the hawks that might be fantastic.  Hawk Mountain already has a number of coloring books, study guides and teaching outlines.  I had hoped that New York City Audubon already had a curriculum for an inner city school but they don't seem to have one.

Here are some pictures of the male on two buildings and the female's tail, which is the best picture she would give me in the late afternoon.

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Highbridge Nest Rediscovered and General Update

Glenn Alvarez wrote me on Friday to say that he had found the new location of the Highbridge Park nest.  I went up and saw it on Saturday.  It looks to be in a great new location.

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Of the eight known nests in Manhattan, here's their status this week...

5th Avenue, Lola sitting on the eggs.

888 Seventh Avenue, Lots of mating and twigging. Not sure if brooding has started.

St. John the Divine, Not sitting yet.

Highbridge Park, New nest location.  Female sitting on eggs.

Inwood Hill Park, New nest location.  Female sitting on eggs.

South Riverside Park, Female sitting on eggs.

Houston Street, Female sitting on eggs.  The male picked up earlier in the month downtown, turns out NOT to be from this nest.

Shepard Hall, City College, New nest.  Not sure of status.

And in the Bronx, Chris Lyons reports Rose is sitting on the Fordham University nest.


79th Street Nest

The Riverside pair started nesting this week.  Although this may be their first nest, they sure look like experts.

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The female sitting on the nest.

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A little rearranging of the nest lining.

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The male comes nearby.

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His landing

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He's on the left. She's on the right.

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She takes off to take a short break.


Harbor Seal

There has been a Harbor Seal to the north and south of the Boat Basin (79th and the Hudson River) for the last few months.  I got to see the seal on Saturday.  Too bad.  If it was on Sunday, I could have made bad puns about the Easter Seal.

Thanks to Leslie Day, for the heads up.

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50 Birds in 50 Days

A few months ago, I was approached by the Parks Department to give a lecture as part of their On A Wing series.  I've had a great time learning to bird in Central Park and thought it would fun to give a lecture sharing my experiences during my first 50 days of birding and show others how easy it is to start bird watching in the park.  The official announcement is below.  Please join me on the 29th.

50 Birds in 50 Days with Bruce Yolton
Saturday, Mar 29, 2008
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Bruce Yolton is an amateur photographer, popular blogger, and avid birder who has lived in New York City for over twenty years. Bruce discovered birding three years ago when Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates prompted him to walk every path in Central Park, and he has been hooked ever since. He shares his joy of learning about birds with others in his blog about Central Park birding, called Urban Hawks.

Now, you too can learn how to go from beginner to seasoned birder as Bruce shares his birding experiences and tips in person at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. In Bruce’s lecture presentation, 50 Birds in 50 Days, he will display his birding photographs, teach how to select a field guide and choose binoculars, and divulge the best walking routes and viewing spots in Central Park.

FREE. Reservation required. For more information and for reservations, please call (212) 628-2345.

This program is part of the On a Wing series, which is co-presented by the Central Park Conservancy and Urban Park Rangers. On a Wing celebrates birds in Central Park through special lectures and family events at Belvedere Castle. Other events in the series include the On a Wing Family Festival on Saturday, April 5 and Central Park Naturally: The Photos and Writings of Charles Kennedy on Sunday, April 13.


Red-tailed Hawk Manhattan Nest Updates

This week's news is mixed.

1) The Inwood Hill female joins Lola who is already sitting on eggs.

2) A male adult hawk was picked up at Avenue D and 12th Street.  It has a foot injury, possibly from getting stuck on an Air Conditioning cage (not at the nest site).  The injury may not be major, so it may be making its way back to the Lower East Side soon.

I couldn't find either of the LES hawks around Noon on Sunday.  The hawk that was picked up may not be from the nest site on Houston.  We'll know in a few weeks.

3) The Highbridge nest has gotten a second look confirming that it looks abandoned.  So, we may have lost a nest site this season.


City College Nest

It looks like I'll have to go back in the morning.  I went Saturday and Sunday afternoons and the action was quiet.  James O'Brien got some great shots this morning, so I guess I'll have to get up early on Saturday.

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Lower East Side On A Rainy Saturday

There was about an hour in the morning to go hawk watching on the Lower East Side.  The nest is moving along.  The couple looks young, so we should be prepared for this first attempt not to be successful.

These hawks are looking much darker than usual, since they're wet.

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One hawk was on a building west of the school when I arrived.

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The other was on a tree across the street.

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Then one was on the nest for about five minutes.

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Before flying off.  Both birds ended up in the same tree.

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One had a twig and took it to the nest and the other...

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...went to a lamppost.

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On the air conditioner to the left of the nest, they've built a little landing platform.

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They sometimes land there, and then fly over to the real nest.

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The hawk on the lamppost, then goes to a drainpipe on at the top of the school.  About 200 pigeons changed places!

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The other hawk is weaving a plastic bag into the nest.

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Good luck first timers!


Eighth Manhattan Nest

Thanks to a report from Bill Amstutz, the eighth Manhattan Red-tailed Hawk nest has been found on Shepard Hall, up at City College.

James O'Brien confirmed the location of the nest today and has pictures on his blog.

Of the eight known nests in Manhattan, here's what I know...

  • 888 Seventh Avenue, Lots of mating and twigging.
  • 5th Avenue, Looks good and keep your fingers crossed that the recent repairs corrected the problems with the nest.
  • St. John the Divine, New mate and Cathedral construction may cause problems.
  • Highbridge Park, Hawks sighted in area but old nest looks abandoned. There may be a new nest nearby.
  • Inwood Hill Park, New nest in older spot.  Looks great.
  • South Riverside Park, New nest with young parents.  Mixed chances but they seem to be doing well for beginners.
  • Houston Street, Nest just beginning to be worked on.  Time will tell.
  • Shepard Hall, City College, New nest.  Who knows.

In addition to these nests, there are rumors of three possible nest sites, two between the Southern Riverside Park nest and Inwood Hill Park nest along the Hudson, and one around 14th Street and the East River.  I hope we find them.

To a wonderful spring!


New Nest At Inwood Hill

James and I went up to the old nest at Inwood Hill and it looked like it hadn't been touched since last year.  We'd find out later in the afternoon, why!

Failing to find any Red-tailed Hawks, we went to the outlook that has a view up and down the Hudson River. There we found a Red-tailed Hawk hovering and behaving like an Osprey.

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The wind was bitterly cold, so we started to walk down to exit the park.  The path we had come up was icy, so we took the alternate path back down.  Halfway down, we discovered the female hawk about 50 feet from a new nest.

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The female

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Another angle of the female.

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The male came with food and cried for his mate to join him.

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He kept calling but she wasn't interested.

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He flew with the prey around her and then landed on a tree on the other side of the ravine.

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She still wasn't interested so he went to the new nest.  It's in Tulip Tree again.

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She still didn't join him.  The sun was setting, so we exited the park.  It should be a fun spring up at Inwood.  The new nest doesn't require walking up any hills to watch!


Broadway Bridge

I met James O'Brien up at Broadway Bridge to look at Peregrines and then go off to Inwood Hill Park.   We're both doing our late winter/early spring check up on our favorite local raptor nests.

We found both Peregrines.  One on the stadium lights of a Columbia University playing field, and the other on the north tower of the bridge.

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Sunday at Riverside Park

I spend a half hour at the Riverside Park nest.  I had missed all of the morning's excitement, three Bald Eagles.

I did get to see the male eat lunch and the female enjoy the sunlight.

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The male

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Red-tailed Hawks clean their beaks on tree limbs after eating.  Hawk dental floss.

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The female who stayed in the exact same spot the entire time I was in Riverside Park.


New Male at St. John

I've been troubled all week by the disappearance of the male from the St. John's pair and the news of his replacement by a younger hawk.  It finally sunk in, when I got to see the new St. John the Divine male this afternoon.

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The new male on the left and our successful mother on the right, on a window of St. Luke's Hospital's Plant building.

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The new male.

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He has a very light eye color and a cleaner white breast color compared to the female.

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Crows have made a comeback this year in Morningside Park.  There are now about six.

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The female chased three European Starlings off of the Plant Building and caught one in mid-air.

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The male on the Wadleigh school building.

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Both hawks visited the nest.  The male is visible on the right.

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The female exits on the left.  The male follows her within a minute.

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The male in different light.  It's going to take some practice to tell the male and the female apart.


Nesting On The Lower East Side

I went down to see how the nest was doing on Houston Street, on Saturday.   It is starting to look like a real nest, so I think we can definitely call this Manhattan Nest No. 7.  I didn't see either hawk, but a photographer and a local confirmed nest building activity earlier in the day.  Rumor has it that one of the hawks is banded.

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