Tonight I found both of the Sheep Meadow hawks in different trees on the east side of Sheep Meadow. They have built a new nest in the same stand of trees as the old nest, but in the Northwestern most tree in the group. It doesn't look like the nest is ready for use yet, and the female did not spend the night in the nest. It will be interesting to see if they end up using this new nest or use another location, possibly a building on Central Park South. For now, we just have to wait and see what happens.
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.
Around this time of year, we sometimes end up with noisy youngsters begging for food endlessly when their parents have decided it's time for the youngsters to hunt on their own.
Tonight, it was a Sheep Meadow youngster who was making a racket just north of Tavern on the Green in a nice protected playground that is undergoing renovation. The pictures are of the youngster and his/her father.
The Sheep Meadow nest had all three youngsters exploring the nest tree today. Their mother cam in with a pigeon and tried to get them to come to her to get the food. See waited twenty minutes before giving up. As soon as she put it in the nest, one eyass came in and ate.
All three juveniles were in the nest tree this evening. If I hadn't seen one yesterday in a tree to the south, I wouldn't believe a fledge had occurred the day before! One stayed on the nest, but the other two were out on branches most of the time. They all were having a nice relaxed day. Unlike one of the fledglings downtown.
The first fledgling is off the nest at Sheep Meadow in Central Park. A trip from the nest to a fence and back to a nearby tree. While I was there, there was an eyass on the nest, a bird branching (exploring the limbs on the nest tree), a parent watching everyone, and the fledgling. Somehow, the rain held off long enough for me to photograph all of them.
I was able to get some photographs before the rain came tonight. I tired a Livestream broadcast as well, but the eyasses went to sleep as soon as I started. The joys of trying to feed live!
(Just for the record, the later part of the Pale Male Irregulars post on May 26th about a Sheep Meadow hawk is pure fantasy. The hawk in the photographs is the adult female of the Sheep Meadow pair, not the male.)
For the first time this season, I left the Sheep Meadow nest feeling like I had gotten a great view of the eyasses, rather than fleeing glances.
The only sour note of the day was a gentleman who wanted to fly a small helicopter next to the nest. This is the eight time within the last year, I've seen folks with model helicopters in the park. The Park Regulations clearly ban them, (§1-05 Regulated Uses, r, 2) "No person shall engage in any toy or model aviation, kite-flying, model boating or model automobiling except at such times and at such places designated or maintained therefor.", with Manhattan having no approved model aviation areas.
Now that small drones and helicopters with remote cameras are under $400, it would be good to see these restrictions made clearer by the Parks Department. Beyond the obvious safety concerns for humans and the hawks, these new drones can be very noisy and are not appropriate for use in quiet zones like the Sheep Meadow. I would encourage anyone who likes to write letters, to send a note to the Parks Commissioner and request that restriction on model aviation be made more prominent in the Parks Department FAQs, provide refresher training to all Park Enforcement Patrol officers and ask the Central Park Conservancy to improve the signage at the Sheep Meadow, Great Lawn and North Meadow so as to remind park patrons of the restrictions.
At Sheep Meadow, I was hoping for some easy views of the eyasses, but had no such luck. I must have just missed a feeding and had sleepy, digesting eyasses in the nest. I did have a few glimpses however.
While I was there the mother few off for a few minutes and was followed by a noisy Bluejay. The male came in and got the Bluejay to follow him, so as to leave the female and the eyasses in peace. Nice work Dad.
If I counted properly, we have three eyasses in the Sheep Meadow nest this year. They were tough to see. Their mother left unattended for a good period and then returned to a perch above them kept an eye on them for over an hour before returning to the nest. She was also keeping an eye on the workers building a huge stage and sound systems for the AIDS Walk on Sunday.
I had visited the Sheep Meadow nest on Friday. Except for the female being higher in the nest than normal, there was no sign of a hatch. But today, after a visit by the male who seemed to be mesmerized by the contents of the nest, the female did a brief feeding. It will be a few days before we can take "baby pictures", but it's great to see these hawks do well in their second year.
This year, the male has a strange tail feather. While red in color it has stripes like a juvenile feather. Something I've never seen before on a Red-tailed Hawk.
The leaves are restricting the viewing angles for the Sheep Meadow nest, so I took what small window I had left from the south to take some portraits of the brooding female this afternoon.
I saw four Juvenile Red-tails along with the Sheep Meadow adults around the rink and the Pond on Monday afternoon/evening. It was a surprising number.
Past sunset, when I would have expected all of them to be roosting, one of the Juvenile hawks caught and ate a rat, well into the evening. This is the latest I've ever seen a Red-tailed Hawk eat.
Tonight after an afternoon of birding the North Woods of Central Park without a camera, and after a break to avoid a thunderstorm, I caught up with one of the Sheep Meadow youngsters.
It was a simple encounter with a hawk drying it's feathers and then hunting. (It had gotten to dark to photograph the capture of the rat which it caught after I had packed up for the night.)
The Salsa music of a few nights ago was replaced by roller-blading Disco, and at the end of the evening a singer who exploited the acoustics of the band shell.
While many fledglings have started to disperse and leave their parents, the two Sheep Meadow fledglings seem in no rush to leave yet.
One of the fledglings, who loves to hunt around the band shell, caught a rodent and ate it to the sounds and sights of Salsa dancers enjoying a wonderful summer evening.
The video includes the entire footage of the rodent being consumed.
I arrived at the Mall to find a crowd around one of the set of wooden benches that form a protective area. Inside was one of the Sheep Meadow fledglings, having just caught a pigeon. The hawks had to spend its time watching everyone who surrounded it eventually flew off to the north.
Struggling to find a good perch to eat the pigeon, it dropped in on to a crowded path. It sat patiently to reclaim its meal, but there were too many people. Eventually a hawk watcher moved the pigeon to a protected lawn, and the fledgling came down and ate the bird.
Many of the area's fledglings have already started to leave the area, so it was nice to see this youngster in late August.
I've been corrected by a number of fellow hawk watchers, who identified this hawk as Pale Male's mate, Octavia. Wow! I didn't expect her this far south.
Given the mess at the bottom of the window frame, this is a popular spot!
Starting in late July, hawk watching in New York City becomes much harder. Fledglings, who had been yelling for food, are now quiet having learned to hunt. Warm weather has the hawks relaxing and staying put, making them harder to spot. And everyone, young and old have dispersed to wider and wider areas. Gone are those nice spots the families came to for meals together at regular hours!
So on Saturday, I had my first hawk free day of the summer. I didn't pick up a single hawk on a trip through Central Park.
This Sunday, I did find two hawks however. Pale Male up at 86th and Fifth Avenue, and one of the Sheep Meadow fledglings at The Mall.
I've missed the Sheep Meadow fledglings the last few times I've looked for them. Tonight, I missed them yet again, but I saw one of the parents for about an hour.
While watching the parent, I ran across folks who had seen both of the fledglings earlier in day. I also ran into a couple who had photographed one of them on the railing of a flowerbed on Fifth Avenue at 72nd Street with their iPhone. It was nice to know they were doing well, even if I didn't get to see them.
Summerstage had a hip hop concert blaring music while this Sheep Meadow hawk did some squirrel hunting. It came up empty, but reports are a fledgling caught two pigeons earlier in the day in the same area.