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Down Time

This evening one of the fledglings went down on the ground and into the bushes near the highway for a few minutes.  In a move only a young fledgling would do, it flew right into a group of people.

The group of experienced hawk watcher knew not to force the bird up the hill and towards the highway, so the group gave the fledgling lots of room to roam.  These young birds tend to do silly things when crowded and it was great to see such a responsible response.

One could have interpreted the birds behavior as proof that the young birds are fearless and undisturbed by people.  But I don't think this is the case.  We've seen year after year, fledglings just off the nest be unaware of danger, just like a toddler, only to be more sensible as they grow older.


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Dinner for Two

The father brought a rodent in for the fledglings to eat this evening.  Amazingly, he cried out in the same voice as the fledglings use to beg for food to announce that food had arrived!  I never knew the parents could make that sound!  (The mother did not participate in the feeding.)

It's nice to see that the two fledglings have been weaned from expecting food at the nest.  The fledglings went to sleep in low branches near the 2009 nest and the parents went to sleep in their regular roosts.


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Super Sunday

The late afternoon started slow, with one fledgling on the nest and one in a Cherry tree at the water's edge.  The one in the Cherry tree had been there for three hours, and the fledgling in the nest was making a liar out of me.  (I had told everyone who asked about what would happen after the hawks left the nest, that fledglings don't normally go back to the nest.)

Once it started to cool down, the action started with both youngsters flying from tree to tree.  As it got close to sunset, one played on the ground, while its sibling begged for food.  Eventually the father arrived with a rodent, the mother prepared it, and one of the fledglings ate it. The feeding took place on a tree, nicknamed the picnic table, because it has a good level surface to eat on.

The fledgling did eat some of rodent before dropping it on the ground.  The mother went down to look for it but came back empty handed.  It was already fairly dark.  Both parents stood guard while the feeding was taking place.

After the aborted feeding, each hawk then ended up going to the parents roosting trees, with one of the fledglings continuing to cry for food as darkness fell.  (For those worried about the crying, this is normal at this stage.  Even recently fed fledglings love to cry for more.)


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Respect These Young Hawks!

When the Riverside Park eyasses were on the nest, hawk watching was relaxed.  There wasn't much we could do that would bother the hawks.

But now that they're off the nest, we need to be responsible bird watchers.  This means doing what we can to reduce the stress on these young hawks and keep them safe.

It also means that those of us who are experienced bird watchers must act as role models for all the new hawk watchers this year.  Please politely reach out to those who get too close, encircle the hawks when they are on the ground or draw too big a crowd.

I know it's hard for New Yorkers to be diplomatic but each of us can easily influence a few people.  Simple statements can get great responses, like "Did you know this is the fledgling's first week of flying.  We really should stay on the path. Do you want to use my binoculars?" or "Aren't these hawks wonderful.  You know if we don't stay still and relatively quiet, they'll fly away.  Do you know their history?". 


Terra Firma

Saturday was a big day at the hawk nest.  The parents started training the fledglings that food would be delivered outside of the nest.  The mother first ate a mouse in front of the fledglings, and then an hour later let them beg and beg until one of them grabbed a rat from her as she sat on a nice level branch.  One of the fledglings eat a rat on the ground and had an encounter with a squirrel, before its sibling joined it.  While all of this happened both parents kept watch.

For the hawk watchers present to see the morning action, it was pure bliss.


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Second Fledges On Friday

The second eyass fledged on Friday in the early morning.  Both hawks are flying well and are exploring their new world.  Unexpectedly, both eyasses are returning to the nest looking for food, something I don't normally expect to see.  It will be interesting to see how long this goes on.


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Staying Close to Home

The parents are still bringing food to the nest, encouraging the fledgling to stay close to its yet to fly sibling. The fledgling is getting really good at getting around, flying quickly and comfortably.  Its sibling has gotten very good at branching the nest tree, so it should be flying by this weekend.


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Nice Flying Fledgling

When I arrived at the Riverside nest this evening, the fledgling had returned to the nest to eat but soon returned to the tree it fledged to, a tree to the south of last year's nest tree.  The fledgling flew very well, and did a good job at landing.  It slept in new tree, which is between the nest tree and the parent's favorite roost trees.

This next phase of hawk watching should be really enjoyable.


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Fledge at Riverside

The oldest fledged just before 2 p.m. today.  I'm going over to the Boat Basin this evening to get some pictures of the first fledgling. 

Great News! 

Thanks to Kevin and Gordon for forwarding the news.


Not Yet, But Close

The eyasses haven't left their nest tree yet, but they sure have left the nest.  The only seem to spending time in the nest to eat food brought by their parents.  They spent Tuesday evening exploring various far flung branches of their nest tree.  The youngest eyass seems to be the most active now, so we won't be surprised if they fledge in reverse age order!


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Almost There

Tonight, I managed to make it to the nest just before dusk to find two very active youngsters.  They both were moving all around, mostly outside the nest and by the end of the evening both fell asleep on perches outside the nest! 

Their parents slept nearby in trees a few hundred feet south.

These kids are ready to go.  I suspect one will be in a different tree the next time I see them.


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Rainy Day

Between breaks in the rain, I was able to watch the eyasses for about an hour and a half around noon on Sunday.   A young squirrel tried got close to the nest upsetting on of the eyasses, the adult male delivered a rat which one of them ate, and there was lots of branching.  They are now spending most of their time on branches outside the nest.


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Out On A Limb

Both eyasses are doing more and more branching.  A few days ago, the oldest hadn't figured out how to turn around on a branch and would hop backwards back into the nest.  Now they can both branch fairly well, and both can turn around on a branch.


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Way Out

Branching has advanced with the two hawks going further away from the nest.  The older one can finally turn around on a limb, rather than get back to the nest by jumping backwards!

The parents are feeding them lots of food.  Their crops look like they've swallowed a peach!  They're being so spoiled, the talk around the nest is "Why would they ever want to leave the nest?".


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Grown Up

The eyasses are both looking ready to fledge.  Until they do, they're putting on a nice show, jumping and branching around the nest. If you haven't been down to the nest or haven't been down lately, now is the time to make a visit.

In some of the pictures and in parts of the video, you'll see one of the eyasses take too big a piece of food. It is left with a wing feather stuck partially swallowed.  It took about 10 minutes for it to get it all the way down.


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Hop, Skip And A Jump

The eyasses have begun branching and have found an easy branch to hop onto.  Eyasses usually fledge after 42-46 days.  I think they hatched around July 10th, so this would put the window anywhere from Saturday, August 21st through Wednesday, August 25th.


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Sunny Saturday

Saturday was a wonderful day at Riverside Park.  Sunshine with low temperatures.  It was a perfect summer day.  The eyasses were active, being well fed, and the parents stayed close to the nest.

Fledging may be as soon as next weekend.


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Full Crops

I had come early on Friday afternoon hoping for some action, but I found two well feed eyasses intent on doing nothing but lounging around!


I had come early on Friday afternoon hoping for some action, but I found two well feed eyasses intent on doing nothing but lounging around!

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