I have been very busy at the office, so I haven't had much time to get out and hawk watch over the last two weeks. On Saturday, I finally was able to get out and do a little bit of hawk watching in Washington Square Park.
On a hot afternoon, the park was crowded so the hawks I saw were staying up high. Two fledglings were on the Judson Church cross and Rosie was on 1 Fifth Avenue and the southern Silver building flagpole.
I took a few days off of hawk watching to catch my breath after watching lots of new fledglings. Tonight, after my break, I got to see all three of the Washington Square fledglings together only a few feet apart from each other. It was great to see them all, but many of the identifiers I've been using to tell them apart have changed over the last week! So, I'm at a loss to tell you, who's who!
Sometime early this morning the first fledgling left the nest. This evening it could be seen on top of a balcony two buildings to the north of the nest. Its mother kept watch from a building across the street.
Only one eyass remains on the nest at West End Avenue/Riverside Drive. It's unclear if we had a death or a premature fledge. Given the dates when it disappeared, a death is most likely. We'll know later in the season depending on how many fledglings end up in the park.
Update 6-15-2003: I received an email that one of the eyasses did die after two days of rain a few weeks ago.
All of the eyasses have fledged at St. John the Divine. This afternoon two were on or near the fences at the parking lot and the third was in a windows of a St. Luke's Hospital building across the street. Both parents were keeping an eye on all of them.
It seems the eyasses on Fifth Avenue are in no rush to leave the nest. An afternoon watching them was very relaxed.
There were only two brief moments of excitement. First an eyass in a bid to steal food from its siblings ends up knocking it out of the nest with Pale Male diving after the food. Then an eyass gets it foot stuck in some pigeon spikes.
On a rainy night we watched the Fifth Avenue eyasses jump and flap on the nest. We didn't see a feeding, so we wondered if the parents are trying to encourage a fledge. It will be stormy on Friday, so I suspect Saturday will be an exciting day.
While I only saw two fledglings this evening, lots of hawk watchers got to see all three. One spent most of the day on the North East side of the park and others on the buildings south of the Silver building.
I got to see two fledglings and the parents. It was fun because one made some long flights including one near the nest onto the top of the library. I'm always amazed by how quickly the fledglings adapt to their life in the city.
I saw at least two and possibly three fledglings at Washington Square tonight. One was glued to a window ledge and looked a little warn out from its fledgling on Sunday.
Above on the roof we saw a fledgling a few times. Looking at the photographs, it looks like we saw two birds. In some photos I see a bird with almost no line under its eye. In other photos, a bird with a pronounced eye line. At least it seemed that way, but because of the rain I could have been confused by seeing a wet and then dry bird. So, I'm not certain,
As we watch them more closely we'll find more and more ways to tell them apart reliably. Until then, I can tell you that I saw at least two fledglings today for sure.
Another bird took flight for the first time early this morning. I'll be in the park this afternoon and will give live reports if possible. Follow me on Livestream, new.livestream.com/urbanhawks for notifications of broadcasts.
Update: Third also fledged. There was some drama, but everyone is fine as of Sunday night.
Except for the fledgling begging for food, it was a quiet day in Washington Square. The fledgling moved back and forth across building on Waverly Street. Just as I got there mid-afternoon, it was on the Silver Building and flew to 1 Fifth Avenue, about a block away. It was a nice strong flight.
In the first week, we see the fledglings play king of the mountain on the buildings trying to get to a the high point. This might be what's happening here. The parents were aware of the fledgling but didn't feed it from what I could see. They might be trying to lure it back to the park.
The eyasses still on the nest were being attended to by the parents, and when I went to look at them around 6 p.m. Rosie was just delivering a small rodent.
It was a good day to relax. We might have some excitement on Sunday.
The fledge day at Washington Square (May 31st) started out simply with the oldest eyass fledgling from the nest (1) to a window ledge four windows east (2) around 10:30 a.m. When I arrived at Noon and for most of the afternoon the fledgling was relaxed and looked like it would be staying put for the day. The mother visited briefly, but spent much more time on the nest with the two eyasses remaining there.
But at 4:45 p.m. the fledgling made a trip north. I suspect the fledgling wanted to land on the building the parents cache food, but the fledgling ended up on a Public Safety van on Washington Place and then slid down to the street (3). Understandably confused on its first day off the nest, it stayed in the street for a long time before moving over to the sidewalk. It tried to get inside the Silver building, then walked ten feet before jumping onto the Public Safety van. After a few attempts it got from the windshield to the top of the roof. By now, we're at about 5:15 p.m.
At first two experienced hawk watchers (chat room handles Roger Paw and JumpFlapper2) directed traffic, but by now the emergency box (blanket, gloves, box) had been retrieved. Public Safety officers controlled onlookers, and an Urban Park Ranger, as well as folks from the chat room had arrived to keep watch. Fledge days seem to bring out the best in folks and this day was no exception. It's days like this that make me proud to be a New Yorker.
In a rural setting, a newly fledged bird would get off the ground by jumping to a bush and gaining height slowly from branch to branch of smaller trees to mature trees. In Greenwich Village, this means window ledges, scaffolding, and on this day a UPS truck.
From the van, the fledgling moved across the street to some scaffolding (4) and made its way to the top of a UPS van, moved briefly across the street to the Brown Building and then back south to the shed (NYC term for the area at the top of scaffolding) and windows ledges above where it had been (5). Quick thinking Public Safety officers closed all of the open windows on the second floor to make sure the fledging didn't try to hide inside the building. (There may have been an additional back and forth between buildings, but things happened so quickly I can't remember.)
The fledgling stayed put for a long while, occationally jumping up to lips and ledges on the stone work, and missing more often than not. The youngster was learning on its first day. What's too small, what's too wide, etc.
By now we're at about 6:40 p.m. and it's back to the Brown Building (6). Here the bird sits on a window sill for the longest time before discovering a narrow ledge around the building. Around the building the bird goes with Chemistry students taking camera phone pictures from inside.
The ledge wraps around the building, so we move from Washington Place to Greene Street (7). At the end of the ledge, the fledgling jumps on a support for a flag pole. By now it's 8:10 p.m. and the fledgling flies across the street gaining about ten feet (8). Then it's across the street to a fourth floor window sill, where the hawk roosts for the night (9), 9 p.m.