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High on the West Side

The ligher colored of the two 5th Avenue fledglings was on top of the Beresford Apartments in the late afternoon before flying off towards the American Museum of Natural History in the early evening.  Its mother was on the AMNH and the youngster was briefly was on an apartment building on 77th Street, before trading places with Mom.

The mother went south on Central Park South before returning to the park.  About 45 minutes later, just before dark the fledgling also returned to the park.


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Cultured Hawk

One of the Fifth Avenue fledglings spent part of the evening on the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It started on the south side, when to the west side, played in the plants on the roof (near an electrical code violation of an exposed, outdoor AC box).  It briefly tried to catch a squirrel in a tree before flying south.


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Further West

What a change a few weeks makes.  The once sickly fledgling is now exploring and made its way from a tree near in the Maintenance Field to the Delacorte Theater this afternoon.  While only a few blocks, it is a very different area from where it has been hanging out.  The theater is near the Locust Grove, a popular hunting spot of the parents.

The fledgling's mother was on top of the Beresford Apartments, so the fledgling may just have wanted to be closer to her.  In any case, it was nice to see the fledgling in new territory.


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Healthy Fledgling

The Fifth Avenue fledgling who had been sickly looking for over a week, looked great today.  Like its sibling, it has taken to roaming over a much wider range of the park, keeping hawk watchers running around after it.

While I was watching, the fledgling went from 76th and Fifth Avenue to somewhere south of Turtle Pond.  Gone are the days, the two fledglings were easy to locate!


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Whole Family

The fall bird migration has started so I walked around the Ramble and Turtle Pond today.  By going out of my normal route, I was rewarded by finding both Fifth Avenue parents on the SE tower of the Beresford Apartments.

They must realize their offspring are growing up, since they seemed comfortable being on the west side, while the "kids" were on the east side of the park.

After a walk through the Ramble, and seeing a few early warblers, I found both youngsters.  One twenty stories high on Fifth Avenue, and the another hunting nearby.  The one hunting caught a small rodent.


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Quiet Dinner

Tonight, I was the only hawk watcher on Cedar Hill.  It was a joy to have the hawks to myself!  The lighter chested hawk eat a pigeon delivered by a parent.  It dropped part of the meal, so it finished the meal in the grass. 

If you look at the video, you'll see a slightly drooping left wing.  It wraps under the tail feathers rather than tucking above them when the bird is at rest.


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Fifth Avenue News

For about a week the lighter chested of the two fledglings has been sleeping during the day and has had one eyelid closed often (which in the case of a Red-Tail actually moves up, not down).  It was also reported to have skipped a few meals.

I hadn't had a chance to get by the nest until today and was encouraged by what I saw.  While the hawk still often had one eyed closed, it seemed energetic and ate a rat brought by its mother.

The Urban Park Rangers and the wildlife rehabilitators, the Horvaths know about the situation with the fledgling.  The have been getting reports daily from hawk watchers and are evaluating if action needs to be taken. At this point since the bird is recovering and is not grounded, there isn't much action that can be taken.

Park regulations prevent unauthorized individuals from interfering with wildlife.  An irresponsible blogger suggested that if the fledgling was on the ground, hawk watchers might want to take matters into their own hands and catch it!  Please, please leave this work to those licensed by the state!


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Another Sunday At Fifth Avenue

Sunday afternoon turned out to be rain-free, despite forecasts that called for a wash out. So I ended up being able to spend about five hours with the fledglings.  The birds provided a nice experience.

Once fledgling was mellow the whole afternoon spending most of the afternoon nodding off in a tree.  The other begged for food once Pale Male was in sight, and continued to beg even after being fed.  What a cry baby!

While eating this youngster had an encounter with a squirrel who ended up either trying to jump over the hawk or jump at the hawk.  It was hard to tell.  But it was fun to watch.  The second video has the encounter in slow motion.

Sadly, there were a few photographers who got a little out of control during the afternoon.  There are photographers who naturally respect nature and unfortunately there are those who will do anything to get a shot without any regard for a bird's welfare. 

It doesn't make sense to be overly controlling in a public park, so I try to be relaxed.  But it really bothers me when a bird has to stop eating to keep track of the individuals who have gotten too close.  Today, that happened twice.  I politely asked people to step back and allow the bird to eat.  Thankfully, I got a positive response from all but two photographers.

One photographer has been stalking the fledglings for the last month.  He has developed a reputation for trying to get as close as possible.  This means four or five feet!  This may acclimate the hawk to humans which could have bad results later in life.  Buy a telephoto lens for god sakes!

The other individual had "mid-life crisis photographer syndrome".  These are men who spend their lives discussing and collecting camera equipment rather than taking photographs.  He took a few photographs and bothered the hawk by being too close, and then spent two hours loudly talking about camera equipment with his friends. 

I'm tempted to get a sticker for my 500mm lens that says "Real men photographers don't talk about their equipment.  They just shoot."



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Pip and Bobby In Union Square Again

I got a text that Bobby was on the Con Ed building, so I finished up at work and walked over to Union Square.  Bobby had left, but I thought I saw another hawk on the north of the tower.  In error, I saw my sighting was a door, once someone lent me binoculars.  But luckily, I found Pip about 10 feet from my false sighting.

I has a business meeting early downtown, so I didn't have my camera at work.  I took a roundtrip cab ride home and back to get my equipment.  When I returned to the park, it was after 8 p.m.  Pip was eating a rodent and Bobby was on top of a nearby water tank.  They exchanged places and eventually both ended up going west on 16th Street.  This is the second time this has happened at dusk, so they must be roosting nearby.


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