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Riverside Hawks

Red-tailed Hawks can build multiple nests and choose one at the last minute.  So, on Saturday when they spent much of their time in the lower eighties, and visited the nest they built after last year's fell which two blocks north of the Boat Basin Café, it made me wonder if their final nest selection hasn't been made yet.

In any case, while I was there they kept me on my toes, moving from 79th to 95th and went to both sides of the highway.  It took a lot of energy to keep up with them!

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Next Exit Please

Thanks to great detective work by Nina Wolf and other birders in Riverside Park, the new nest site of the Riverside Hawks has been discovered.  I was able to confirm the nest location on Saturday, but wasn't able to see the hawks in the nest until Sunday morning.

The nest is on a traffic island at the next exit north from their old nest.  It is on a strip, that due to heavy traffic, is cut off to humans, dogs and raccoons.  Best of all, there are a row of benches for any and all hawk watchers to sit on!

Update: March 22nd.  The Hawks ended up choosing a nest site a few blocks north of the Boat House Café.  This is not unusual.  Hawks may build an alternate nest, and then not use it.

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Sunday at Riverside

Here are some pictures of the female of the Riverside pair, hanging out on the streetlights above the West Side Highway.

Update: I received an email from Nina Wolf, that the hawks have been breaking off sticks around 84th Street and flying north.  So, this may be a sign that their new nest is farther north than last year.  If anyone knows of the new nests location, please drop me an email.

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Sunday Long-eared Owl

Sunday had a Long-eared Owl in "The Oven" (a cove on the Lake in Central Park).

The Long-eared Owl was in a deciduous tree in the open which is unusual for the species.

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Bald Eagles

During the winter, about an hour north of Manhattan on the Hudson River, you can find Bald Eagles.  On Saturday, Teatown’s Hudson River Eaglefest 2009 was held along the river.  I drove up with James O'Brien and Ben Cacace and we ended up seeing over sixty eagles!  (We might have actually seen more, but we didn't count the eagles we saw on the west side of the river to avoid double counting.)

We birded both sides of the river from Croton-on-Hudson on the east bank, up to George's Island and Bear Mountain and down as far as Haverstraw on the west bank.

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Early morning view from George's Island Park

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The view across the river from George's Island

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There was a nice mix of adult and juvenile eagles on the river.

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If you count closely, you'll see ten eagles out on the river.  This photo was taken about two miles south of Bear Mountain Bridge on the east side of the river.

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Fishing!

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More Fishing

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Eagles were not the only ones riding the ice, the Greater Cormorants were too.

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Riverside Hawks

I haven't been over to lower Riverside Park since last Spring.  I was there in the late afternoon on Sunday and saw both the male and female. 

The male spent most of his time on top of two tall buildings, either a popular perch on a water tower at around 80th or the south tower of the Normandy apartment building.  His eye color has darkened since last year, as was to be expected.

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The female of the pair, whose broken beak looks to be recovering nicely, spent most of the afternoon moving from street light to street light over the West Side Drive.  She landed in a few trees, but seemed to enjoy the views and warm sunlight offered by the street lights.

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I didn't see either hawk hunting or feeding while I was observing them.  Nor did I find any sign of a new nest.   I'd expect we'll find the nest in the next few weeks.  The hawks hormones will be kicking into overdrive by the end of the month.

As I was on my way home, I saw the outline of one of them roosting in a tree south of 79th Street in the park area between the highway and Riverside Drive.

Let's hope this year goes better for this pair, after the tragic poisoning of their offspring in 2008. This pair will certainly have learned from last year. I suspect they'll find a more stable place to establish their new nest. 

However, second generation rodenticides are still being used by buildings bordering Riverside Drive.   It's too bad that these birds seem to be better at learning from their experiences than the humans in their territory.