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What's Next?

I've had lots of hawk watchers as what's next for the nest.  Eyasses have to be as big as their parents to fly, so we'll see rapid growth over the next few weeks.  The eyasses will begin to practice flapping their wings and will explore branches in the tree.

The young fledge at 44 to 46 days of age, and the parents continue to feed their fledglings for another four to seven weeks.  During this time, the young gradually move farther from the nest, improve their flight abilities, and begin to hunt on their own.

This puts the fledge date for this nest somewhere in the third week of August, and the exploration of the park by the fledglings through to October.


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Active Eyasses At Riverside

The two eyasses were very active in the early evening.  The mother left them alone most of the time I was watching.   (Red-tailed Parents feel comfortable leaving there kids alone, once they are as old as this pair is.  I haven't figured out triggers the change in behavior.  Is it a change in coloring, the size of the eyasses, or something else?)

If you haven't visited the nest yet, make a point to see it this weekend.  It's about two blocks north of the Boat Basin Café.


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Two Eyasses At Riverside

Chances that there is a third eyass in the Riverside nest decline with each day.  Feeding behavior and other signs make twins rather than triplets the likely situation.

The eyasses are starting to grow their flight feathers.  I love this period of time, because if you watch closely you can figure out how all the major tail and wing feathers are arranged.  Something that is much harder to study once they've grown in.


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A Little Wet At Riverside

I arrived at Riverside on Sunday after a thunderstorm to find a wet family of hawks.  The father was on a street light drying off and the mother was feeding two eyasses.

The other known Red-tailed Hawk second clutches in the city, Inwood Hill and Astoria/RFK Bridge, both fledged over the last few days.  A fledgling was seen in Inwood Hill by Jessica Ancker (via the Inwoodbirdwatchers Yahoo Group) and Peter Richter has pictures of the fledglings in Astoria on his Queens Raptors blog.


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Bigger Each Day

I've been busy with work commitments and finally got back to the Riverside nest this evening. 

The Riverside eyasses have grown a lot bigger in just a few days.  The two eyasses are hard to see together, but I definitely saw two today.  (In the videos second section you'll see a beak down at the butt of the eyass in the foreground for about half a second.)

I like watching eyasses at this stage.  They're big and active enough to get good glimpses, yet they're still really cute and fluffy.


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Bobby and Cathy Horvath In The News

Long Island Press has a very nice feature article and movie about Bobby and Cathy Horvath, two animal rehabilitators who have done fantastic work helping birds of prey in New York City.

In our urban and suburban world of greater New York City, wildlife sometimes needs assistance when it is disturbed by humans.  Bobby and Cathy Horvath have been helping out for over thirty years.

If you’d like to make a monetary donation, checks can be made out to “Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation” and sent to:

WINORR, Inc.
202 N. Wyoming Avenue
North Massapequa, NY 11758


Windy Day

The nest was blown from side to side this evening in high winds.  It looks like this new one is built very well.  The hawks didn't seem to mind the wind too much with the mother doing a feeding while the nest rocked back and forth!

The eyasses are getting easier to see.  I was able to see them from a number of angles today and saw them every twenty minutes or so.


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Getting Easier To See

While the two eyasses aren't yet easy to photograph, due to the foliage around the nest, they are getting easier to see during feedings (about every hour and a half).  They can hold their heads up and compete for food while being feed.  They should be very visible by next weekend.


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Two Heads Are Better Than One

A second eyass was visible today at the Riverside nest.  (Eyasses don't hatch all at the same time, so it's common during the first few days for observers of a nest to see one, then two and hopefully three eyasses, after seeing just one initially.)

The winds were high along the river, so the video is a bit jumpy.  Despite the poor quality of the video, it was great to see two healthy and hungry eyasses.


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Still Very Hard To See

It's still really hard to get a glimpse of an eyass at Riverside. Expect to spend an hour or two to get just a brief look.  The number of eyasses is also still unclear.

This pair has had such a difficult time with only one youngster having made it out of nine in the last three years makes this new nest extra special.  For those unfamiliar with the story, in 2008 three eyasses died due to secondary rat poisoning, in 2009 two out of three fledglings died after being hit by cars, and earlier this year three eyasses were killed when the nest collapsed in strong winds.

So this second clutch brings with it new hopes for this pair of hawks.


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First Glimpse Of New Riverside Eyass

The wait is finally over.  Today, I got to see glimpses of a newborn eyass at the Riverside nest.  After all the mixed signals over the hatch date, and the extreme heat, it's great to see finally see a youngster.

The video shows three slow motion glimpses of the eyass through gaps in the nest, and then a visit by the father who takes out some trash.  Watching the video in full screen mode will help.


Riverside Nest Feeding

I haven't really known what to make of this second nest this year at Riverside.  It is so late in the season, my past experiences with this pair are of no use.

The clues about hatching seem to be there but things don't seem quite right.  The mother and father have changed behavior, but things seem off.  Yes, the mother is not sitting on eggs anymore, but the kids haven't been seen after more than a week, and where is the white wash that would normally be all over the nest after a week of eyasses?

That said, I also know this is a very deep nest, which is next to impossible to photograph.   The eyasses also would have hatched in extreme heat, which may slow their activity.

So, each day I look for clues.  Today, I saw what looked to be a true feeding, not just the mother eating.  A nice positive sign.


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Three Days At Riverside

Below are three movies and photographs from Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.   We're still waiting for a glimpse of an eyass.  Hopefully, this will happen soon.  With the extreme heat of last week, there are concerns that one or more of the eyasses may have passed away.




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RFK Bridge

Before I went on vacation, I went by and saw the freshly hatched eyasses nesting on the Astoria side of the RFK Bridge.  I finally got back to see how they were doing on Saturday.  The two of them looked great.

They look healthy and very grown up.  Their tails need to grow in before they'll be flying off, but they'll be leaving the nest soon.


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Riverside Status Still Unclear

I can't figure out what's going on at the Riverside Park nest.  Close inspection of the nest for a few hours, showed some hopeful signs such as the mother up high on the nest, her leaving the nest a few times, and both parents looking into the nest.  But nothing definitive.

The mother ate on the nest, but she seemed to be eating all the food herself and not sharing it with young eyasses. 

Have the eggs hatched and we're seeing odd behavior due to the heat, or have they not hatched and the heat has changed the mother's behavior?


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Mixed Signals At Riverside

It's difficult to know what's going on at the Riverside nest.  Behavior has changed, with the mother sitting high up on the nest and spending time on the edge of the nest.

If this was May, we'd all suspect that her eggs had hatched.  But in July, is it just the 100+ degree weather?  These photographs were taken over the last three days.

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Expectant Mother

It's been at least 30 days since the Riverside female started sitting on her nest with her second clutch.  It's hard to figure out when she actually laid her eggs, since Red-tails often start sitting on their nests a few days before they start laying their eggs, so calculating the exact hatch date is difficult.  However, it should be any day now.

On Saturday, it hadn't happened yet.  No signs of a feeding, the mother leaving the nest alone for a few minutes, or an adoring pair of parents looking into the nest.

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