The fledgling, who has seemed so mature over the last few visits, reminded me that it is still a youngster today. While I was there it spent a great deal of time on the ground, had fun staring down squirrels and generally acted like a kid. It was nice to see there was still some kid left.
When I arrived at Riverside, I found the fledgling eating the remains of the squirrel that it caught on Monday. It then spent some time in a few trees east of the playground, before crossing the hightway.
It settled in to the area near the nest, then went closer to the Boat House Café, stopping both on the ground and in a few trees. One of them was a tree the father used to roost in, so I expected the fledgling to stop. However, I was surprised to see the fledgling take off and make its way to the other side of the cafe, to the south.
It stopped above a set of dumpsters that are used by the Parks Department and the Café. The area is full of rodents as a result. The fledgling settled down about fifteen minutes after the robins and went to sleep. I suspect that the fledgling will be having a nice breakfast after it wakes up!
The video has a treat at the end, a firefly.
The evening started with two troublesome Mockingbirds trying to get the fledgling to move. The fledgling stood its ground. The bird then enjoyed the puddle in the rocks.
Then the fledgling killed a squirrel very effectively having tracked it from about 50 yards away. On Sunday, the fledgling was seen atop a high apartment building on Riverside Drive. The immature fledgling of just a few weeks ago, is growing up fast.
The video posted below has about a minute of the struggle between the squirrel and the fledgling. The squirrel's death takes a full minute. If this would bother you, you might want to skip watching this video. (On the other hand, if you have teenagers, invite them to watch.)
Five Eastern Screech-Owl were released in Central Park by the wildlife rehabilitor, Bobby Horvath and his family on Saturday.
The Red-phased owl Bobby released last year is doing very well in the North Woods, so Bobby was comfortable releasing more owls into Central Park. Central Park may have its risks, but it lacks Great-Horned Owls which are becoming a major predator of Eastern Screech-Owls on Long Island where Bobby lives.
Two adult Red-phased owls were released and three young Gray-phased owls. Thanks for your loving gift to the park, Cathy and Bobby.
The first pictures are right after the release. The later pictures are of one of the gray owls after dark (long exposures without flash).
The surviving Riverside Park fledgling was back on the Hudson side of the parkway, when I visited on Saturday. I didn't stay long but all seemed well.
The remaining fledgling continues to do fine at Riverside Park. Today the fledgling was back in the area south of the playground. Hunting for rodents along the Drive wall, avoiding Mockingbirds, amusing children in the playground continue to be standard afternoon activities.
Today, I saw the fledgling cool off in the water by the rocks east of the playground. (Lincoln Karim arranged for this area to be cleaned of trash, so it would be safe for the fledglings.) The large rock outcroppings common in Manhattan parks, collect water making them perfect spas for Red-tails.
Tonight, I found the fledgling and the father near the Boat House Café. This is back on the west side of the Henry Hudson Parkway, closer to the Hudson River where it was cooler.
The fledgling had found an old nest and was relaxing in it. After about fifteen minutes, I lost track of the fledgling, but soon rediscovered it nearby eating a rodent. Once the fledgling was done eating, the father finished the leftovers.
The surviving Riverside Park fledgling seems to be doing fine. It has an every widening area that it flies around in, which is giving the hawk watchers some exercise. (I learned today, that the fledgling that died Monday was hit by a car, not a truck as I had previously been told.)
Tonight the fedgling spent a great deal of time on the Riverside Drive wall. Some cell phone camera carrying paparazzi got a little close, but no harm was done, although it did interrupt the fledgling's hunting.
I got to see, what for me is always a treat, a fledgling fall asleep. It always seems to happens in a nice order. The robins go to sleep, everything gets quiet, the hawk preens for a few minutes and then falls asleep. And then I smile.
Today, I finally found the reason why there had been such aggressive behavior by two Northern Mockingbirds against the Riverside Red-tailed Hawks, a nest carefully woven into a Pine tree to protect the young Mockingbirds.
Tonight, I found the surviving fledgling on the large rock at the south end of the Promenade. It was being watched by its father, who picked up a rat and put it in a tree, where the fledgling came and took it.
The fledgling didn't eat much, but made lots of calls. It was as though it was waiting for its lost sibling to call back. Once the fledgling gave up on its meal, the father came in and finished it.
Graphic pictures of a rodent being eaten follow both in video and pictues, readers beware.
The Henry Hudson Parkway traffic claimed another fledgling today at Riverside Park today. This leaves only one out of the original three fledglings still alive.
I received word that the police assisted in stopping traffic and the remains were retrieved and given to someone in the Parks Department.
The two fledglings had been on the same branch on a tree at the top of the stairs that leads to the underpass at 84th Street. One flew across the highway, above car height but did not fly high enough for the truck. It was then hit a few more times by other cars.
The fledglings have discovered the wall that separates the park for Riverside Drive and the West Side. While sitting on it, the hawks have a good view of squirrels and rodents below the wall. While below it, they can look into cracks between the stones to find nesting rodents.
For the hawks, it's natural. For the hawk watchers, who know the city and its danger are just on the other side of the wall, it seems unnatural. But it's just part of the hawk's growing up and learning more about their environment. Soon they'll be perching on Riverside Drive buildings, just like their parents.
We had a nice time watching two Eastern Screech-Owls wake up tonight for about 30 minutes. Unfortunately, they gave us the slip at fly out by flying into dense cover. But it was nice to see that they were both healthy.
The fledglings are broadening their area and have begun doing some of their own hunting. This has meant going further north into the southern section of the Promenade and doing more aggressive flying going blocks at a time at a higher altitude.
One of the fledglings was very active on Thursday evening, screaming its head off begging for food. It's become an excellent flier, so it took a lot of walking to keep up with the fledgling, whose stops included the roof of a slide in the playground. A few squirrels were chased, but nothing caught.
The other fledgling was in a tree sitting quietly by the parkway watching the traffic go by. It was reported that the fledgling crossed the highway towards the nest area to roost for the evening.
The fledglings had been fed before I arrived, so tonight I saw two very relaxed, digesting Red-tailed Hawks. The only noise came from neighborhood American Robins and Mockingbirds.
Dull is good. Only a week ago, we were worrying about the fledglings crossing the highway.
The evening was fairly quiet this evening, even if the fledglings were a little vocal. They flew around some, one was on the ground briefly, but all and all it was a calm night.
They fledglings are flying really well. I suspect that we'll see them venturing up and down the promenade further north soon. It also means that they'll be harder to keep track of too. I suspect lots of hawk watchers are going to be sharing cell phone numbers within a week.
Next to the Children's Playground at Riverside Park, we now have a Hawk Hunting Playground. An acre of wet muddy soil for the kids to play with sticks and hunt squirrels. Both hawks are enjoying their school days. The parents are still feeding both fledglings, but the fledglings should soon be catching some food on their own.
I stuck around to see where the fledglings were roosting for the evening and was able to see the father and one of the fledglings go to sleep in the same tree.
The two fledglings seem to be adjusting to their new surroundings south of the playground. The area has a Northern Mockingbird nest, so there are now American Robins, Blue Jays and Northern Mockingbirds mobbing the fledglings at times.
While I was there this afternoon they both got fed, one a pigeon and one a rodent. Rather than being brought the food directly by the parents, as they did a week ago, the adults are now perching near the fledglings. Then one of fledglings flies up to the parent and takes the food away rather aggressively.
(The pictures and video below have graphic images of the rodent being eaten. The video shows the rodent being disemboweled, so viewer discretion is advised.)
On the afternoon of the Fourth of July, the fledglings were east of the Henry Hudson Parkway. They stayed in a few trees south of a children's playground. I hope they roosted there this evening and avoided the crowds and fireworks by the river.
The playground area is a favorite hunting ground of the parents. Over the last few days, the father seems to be taking a more active role with the fledglings. We may soon be seeing some hunting lessons.