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.