Highbridge Nest Rediscovered and General Update

Glenn Alvarez wrote me on Friday to say that he had found the new location of the Highbridge Park nest.  I went up and saw it on Saturday.  It looks to be in a great new location.




Of the eight known nests in Manhattan, here's their status this week...

5th Avenue, Lola sitting on the eggs.

888 Seventh Avenue, Lots of mating and twigging. Not sure if brooding has started.

St. John the Divine, Not sitting yet.

Highbridge Park, New nest location.  Female sitting on eggs.

Inwood Hill Park, New nest location.  Female sitting on eggs.

South Riverside Park, Female sitting on eggs.

Houston Street, Female sitting on eggs.  The male picked up earlier in the month downtown, turns out NOT to be from this nest.

Shepard Hall, City College, New nest.  Not sure of status.

And in the Bronx, Chris Lyons reports Rose is sitting on the Fordham University nest.

Pelham Bay Park Landfill

Sunday, I spent mid-day in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.  It's at the end of the 6 Subway Line, which is an easy but long ride from Manhattan. Long Island Sound basically ends at the park, which makes it a perfect magnet for birds migrating from New England.

Once a year, the Urban Park Rangers lead a hawk watching tour of the landfill which is normally closed to visitors.  This year's tour ended up being a perfect day for hawk watching.  The weather was nice, and the wind was steady and from a northwesterly direction.  We ended up having hawks in view the entire time we were on the landfill, which is highly unusual.  Needless to say, I had a great time.

The view from the top of the Landfill.

The landfill is a large hill.  It is the highest point in the area giving us a great view, plus it creates updrafts for the hawks and falcons.

We ended up seeing many Red-tailed Hawks (seven were in the air at once), American Kestrels (at least four), Northern Harriers (at least two), Osprey (two, not photographed) and one possible Sharp-shinned hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk and aircraft.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk hovering.

There were at least two American Kestrel pairs on the landfill.  Two were seen on the barb-wire cages that surround the methane gas vents.  Needless to say the fences have large signs saying "No Smoking".

American Kestrel

American Kestrel Hovering.

American Kestrel Hovering.

American Kestrel Hovering.

American Kestrel Hovering.

Immature North Harrier

My guess is that this is an accipiter.  Based on the size, it is was likely to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk but this is only a guess.

Reverse view of the same unidentified hawk.

As we were leaving the landfill I commented how nice it would be if a hawk landed on the Bronx Victory Memorial.  A few minutes later my wish came true!






As we returned to the Ranger Station, a juvenile Red-tailed hawk landed on a tree 15 feet from the station.

I was able to follow it for about an hour.  It hunted along the edge of the highway, in a playground, and on top of a stadium light.  The hunting attempts weren't successful, but I think the young hawk was practicing rather than giving it the full effort.



A scratch

It moved from tree to tree making a hunting attempt each time.


Here it is in a bush after trying for a mouse in a playground.

It then went after the Monk Parakeets of Pelham Bay Park, which use the stadium lights of the running track.

The Monk Parakeets were safely one stadium light tower away from the hawk.  But they sure made a racket.

The hawk takes a few looks, moves around a bit and then flies away.

Circling to gain height.

And within minutes is gone from view.

I returned to Manhattan with a detour into Central Park, where I found...

... Lola on the Beresford...

...and Pale Male was in a new spot near his regular roosting tree.

Fledging Updates

Reports are coming from Donna Browne and Richard Schmunk about fledgings. 

Donna reports that the first fledge has occurred at Fordham University in the Bronx via her blog.

Robert also has a report of a first fledge at St. John the Divine on his blog.

These early days watching new fledglings can be lots of fun.  If you have a chance, visit either location and enjoy the experience.

The eyas on 888 Seventh Avenue should be fledging soon too.  Watch for it to fly to a nearby roof sometime over the next few days.   Keep an eye on Carnegie Hall.  This may be the first stop.

Fordham University, Bronx, New York

The Fordham University Rose Hill campus has a nest on Collins Auditorium.  This is the nest location's second year.   Both years have been successful with three eyasses last year, and three this year.

Chris Lyons and Dr. Rich Fleisher both work at Fordham and send regular reports via Rob Jett's City Birder Blog and Dr. Richard Fleisher's page at Fordham.

The parents have been nicknamed Hawkeye and Rose.  Alan Alda is an alumnus of Fordham, so Hawkeye is named after Alan Alda's character on the television program M.A.S.H.  Rose, the female is named after the campus.

The campus is a traditional College setting with lawns, gardens and footpaths.  The campus is adjacent to Bronx Park, a 718 acre park home to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.

Collins Auditorium.  The nest is located on the left side of the pediment and the eyasses can walk along the entire ledge.


The three eyasses and their mother, Rose.  These are the fifteen, sixteenth and seventieth eyasses, I've seen in New York City this season.  Thanks to all of the individuals, who made visiting these sites possible.


They're doing lots of wing flapping, with plenty of room to practice on the long, wide ledge.



Hawkeye on a lighting fixture, a quarter mile from the nest.

Rose flew to a building across Fordham Avenue in the early evening.

All three keep track of a Monk Parakeet as it flew by, including the eyas at the back who is peaking out on the left.

As it got cooler, more wing flapping.





All three eyasses.


Fledge Date Guesses for Manhattan

If you've been looking at the Queen's Hawkcam, you'll notice that the young are close to fledging.  General wisdom is that it take between 42 and 46 days for a hawk to fledge.  I've tried to take a guess at what I think the Manhattan hatch dates were and calculated the approximate fledge dates.  Of course, the normal "Your mileage may vary" disclaimer applies here.

EyassesHatch (Best Guess)+42+46
Queens Nestcam24/135/255/29
Inwood Hill24/206/16/5
St. John34/276/86/12
888 7th Avenue14/296/106/14

One thing I'm sure of however, is that I need to spend this Memorial Day weekend visiting Highbridge and Inwood Hill Park before it's too late!

Two Feedings

Young eyasses can be too small to see at first, so hawk watchers depend on seeing feeding behavior.  There were two such nest reports that came in via email today. 

One came from Chris Lyons, who watches the Fordham hawks in the Bronx entitled, I THINK I just watched Rose feeding chicks.

"I was about to give it up as a lunch hour mainly wasted (ONE good shot), when Hawkeye showed up out of nowhere--didn't see if he was carrying prey, but he probably was.  Rose spent quite a good while hunched over the nest, with her head bobbing, and Hawkeye was looking down into the nest with great interest.   He stayed a long time.   Eventually Rose settled back down on the nest.   She's been taking a lot of breaks lately, without him relieving her.   I never saw any chicks, but I wouldn't expect to at this point...Not 100% sure, but 95%, at least. "

The other came in from Robert B. Schmunk entitled, Cathedral hawk babies.

"Hi all,

It looks like the hawks at Cathedral of St. John the Divine have had an egg hatch, as there was definite feeding behavior going on today just after 7:00.

Tristan had been hunting in the weeds alongide the northwest  parking lot at the Cathedral and was observed to fly back to the nest with a mouse. He stayed there for a few minutes, and after he left Isolde was seen to be leaning into the nest in a manner typical of a feeding.

Donna Browne was watching with her scope and probably can provide better details of the feeding. At one point she indicated that it looked like Isolde was provide tidbits in two directions, as if there two nestlings.

Tristan returned with part of another mouse or rat at 7:30, but that appears to have been saved for a later meal."


Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Red-tailed Hawk nests are the order of the day in New York City this year.  I think we have at least ten confirmed nests.  In the next few weeks, we should have lots of babies all through the city.  I'm going on vacation but will be back in time for some Red-tail babies.

Beyond my reporting there are lots of excellent websites in New York with news of Red-tail nests.

Rob Jett's City Birder blog has news of two nests in Brooklyn and news via Chris Lyons of hawks in the Bronx.

Robert B. Schmunk's Bloomingdale Village blog has been keeping tabs on the Cathedral Church of St. John hawks and other hawks in Central Park.

Jeffrey Kollbrunner's website has news of a pair of hawks in Queens.

And if you're into Peregrine Falcons Ben Cacace blog, NYC Nova Hunter has been keeping track of a pair on Park Avenue and the 55 Water Street webcam is back online.

Plus, James O'Brien's The Origin of Species blog has news of American Kestrel, Peregrine and Hawk in midtown and Harlem.

Pale Male on Sunday

Fordham Hawks make the tree to building nest move

Rob Jett reports on his excellent The City Birder blog, that the Fordham Campus Red-tailed Hawks have made the move from tree nesting to building nesting.

This makes the fourth New York City building nest I've heard reports of:

Fifth Avenue
Bronx Fire Escape (2004) (Daily News, NYC DEP)
Central Park South
Fordham Campus

Update: I forgot about the St. John the Divine (200?-?) nest, which would make five.  If you know of other building nests in NYC, please leave a comment.