After bird watching in Central Park on Friday and Saturday, I made visits to the Fifth Avenue nest. The two eyasses have gotten large enough that they are seen frequently from the "hawk bench."
While it's still possible we'll discover that there is a third eyass in the Fifth Avenue nest, for now it looks like we have two. Pale Male was on the nest when I arrived and left to return for a brief visit an hour later. The youngsters are being very well looked after.
I visited the Fifth Avenue nest on Sunday evening and got to see two eyasses being fed by Octavia. There's always a chance that there is a third, younger eyass still too small to be seen.
I finally got to see a Fifth Avenue eyass twice tonight for a few seconds each time. They should be easier to see as the days progress. Now we just need to figure out how many there are.
It happens every year. I know it takes a few days before the eyasses are big enough to see, but I always try too soon to see them. I check every angle but it doesn't help. I just need to be patient.
The last thing I needed to see to be sure the Fifth Avenue nest had hatched I saw on Monday evening, the classic feeding of an eyass. The mother pulls a piece of food off the prey and gently twists her head by 45-90 degrees to hand the food off to the eyass. Seeing this behavior removed all doubts about the nest hatching for me. Now the questions is how many eyasses is she feeding, two or three?
There is a good chance the Fifth Avenue nest has hatched. Food was visible, both hawk let the nest be exposed for long periods of time, and there were lots of flies. Plus, Octavia may or may not have done a feeding based on who you asked.
When some other hawk observers asked me what I thought, I said I'd like to wait at least one more day before calling it for certain. Things all looked right but why not wait a day to be sure.
I was hoping to see signs of Pale Male and Octavia's nest hatching today. But it looks like we're still a few days away. Octavia spent a great deal of time standing up off the eggs, but it was a warm sunny day, so this could just have been due to the weather.
While I was at the Fifth Avenue nest, which I thought would be the first nest to hatch in Manhattan, I got two emails saying it looked like a feeding was taking place at 116th and Riverside Drive. So, it looks like we are starting to have eggs in the city hatch!
It looks like we still have a few more days before the nest hatches at Fifth Avenue. I looked for signs of a hatch but found none tonight. Pale Male was on the Carlyle Hotel and Octavia was on the nest.
Tonight, it was a quiet night at Fifth Avenue, with Pale Male and Octavia not doing much of anything!
When I arrived at the Fifth Avenue nest, Pale Male was on the Carlyle Hotel and Octavia was on the nest. Pale Male soon flew over the Met and wasn't seen for the rest of the evening. Octavia stayed on the nest occasionally getting up to roll the eggs or preen. All in all a quiet evening by the boat pond.
When I arrived at the Fifth Avenue nest, Octavia was on it, and Pale Male was being harassed by an American Kestrel. He ended up perching on what the "regulars" call the Linda Building. I must have missed the exchanges for the day, as Pale Male soon went off to roost for the night. There isn't a lot of action when their are eggs to be kept warm!
I spent the weekend trying to figure out what was happening with our three pairs of hawks in Central Park.
- The Sheep Meadow pair continue to be seen in the SE corner of the park, but don't seem to have settled on a nesting location just yet.
- The pair that tried to nest on the Beresford last year, are bringing twigs to the Beresford and San Remo this year.
- Pale Male and Octavia are doing just fine. Pale Male gave Octavia a long break on Sunday afternoon.
- A Merlin was a nice extra bonus near the band shell.
When hawk watchers talk of an exchange, they're talking about the process where the male gives the female a break. When these start, it's usually safe to assume at least the first egg has been laid. Today, I was fortunate to see Pale Male give Octavia a break of about twenty minutes.
(The exchange was a little odd, in that Pale Male left the nest unattended for about four minutes. He may have been helping Octavia with a territorial dispute out of my view.)
Over the next few weeks, female hawks around New York City will begin spending nights sitting on their nests and will then lay eggs soon thereafter and start the brooding process. Pale Male's mate Octavia spent the night on the nest tonight. Spring must be right around the corner!
Octavia spent about twenty minutes on her nest this afternoon. Red-tailed Hawks courtship and nest building usually kicks in by Valentine's Day, so we should starts seeing activity all around the city.
The Sheep Meadow nest blew down this winter and a pair seems to be building a nest on The San Remo.
The day started with Octavia and Pale Male on the Carlyle Hotel. He left before I could get my camera out. But she stayed for about half an hour.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent with the Great Horned Owl. For the first time, I was able to follow her above 79th Street. She was perched in a tree in the Locust Grove and then she flew over the Great Lawn.
Central Park was full of people today. It seemed that everyone who stayed inside on Saturday was in the park on Sunday. Pale Male had just finished eating a bird in the Ramble when I arrived.
The Great Horned Owl, that no on saw for two weeks but was rediscovered a few days ago, was out in the open in the bright sunlight. She did her best to sleep but helicopters, a drone, a Gray Squirrel, a Tufted Titmouse, Pale Male and a Cooper's Hawk did there best to keep her awake.