Dry Ice

New York City has begun to experiment with Dry Ice (frozen CO2) as an alternative to using rat poisons in city parks.  The technique has turned out to be very effective and as been used recently in a few parks with known Red-Tailed Hawk populations in Manhattan.

Articles about the program have appeared in the New York Daily News and on NY1.  For years there has been tension between hawk lovers and rat haters, and this solution seems to be a wonderful alternative to rodenticide use, that works for everyone.

Kudos to those who wrote letters of complaint after the death of the hawk earlier this year downtown, and many, many thanks to the Department of Health and the Parks Department for finding a safer rat control solution.


Darien Osprey Have A Brood Of Four

On my last visit to Darien, I counted three chicks, but now that they are larger, it's clear there are four.  The nest was very busy with lots of feedings. 

There was also an interesting "sponge bath" of grass, that the mother brought up to the nest as well.  Plus there was an intruder Osprey who made a half-hearted attempt to steal a fish from the nest.



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Fifth Avenue Fledglings

This year the fledglings are spending time north and south of 72nd Street, something I don't remember being common in years past.  Maybe it's easier to venture south without the Sheep Meadow pair.  The fledglings are doing a great job of flying high as well as exploring down low.


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Darien Osprey Nest

The Scot Cove, Darien Ospreys have returned to their nest this year for a second season.  This year they have three young ones.  (The first year they had two.)  We guess they're about two weeks old, but aren't sure.


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2016 Manhattan Nests - Update 11

The key news this week is a number of fledges:

  • Fifth Avenue, 2
  • 72nd Street, 1
  • 100th and Third Avenue, 1
  • J. Hood Wright Park, where there were 4 eyasses, 3 so far
  • St. John the Divine, 3 with one getting into trouble, being picked up by the police and sent to rehab

As always any news or corrections are welcome.


Hawks 2016-11




Awesome Foursome

I got a text from Ranger Rob Mastrianni today saying that the J. Hood Wright Park nest had four eyasses in their nest.  That's very, very rare.  So, I took the A train up to 175th Street and took a look this evening.  I got to see all four of them.  It's a good thing I went today, since one of them looks ready to leave nest. 

I love these surprises.  When the eyasses were younger most folks could only tell that there were one or two eyasses on the nest.


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2016 Manhattan Nests - Update 10

One of the reasons I started blogging about hawks was the myopic view that Red-tailed Hawks in New York were all about Pale Male, his mates and his offspring.  Today, just in Manhattan, we have at least 50 and more likely 60-80 Red-tailed Hawks in Manhattan.  What a wonderful number!

This update includes some fledges, the single eyass at 84th and West End, and the discover of the successful nest at 100th and Third Avenue.  As always, please email me with any updates.

Update: 5/31, The J. Hood Wright Park nest has four eyasses!  A very rare number!

Hawks 2016-10



Third Avenue and 100th Street

Thanks to a tip from the Morningside Heights blog who received the news from Gary Hansen, we have a new nest in Manhattan.  (The blog also reports that an eyass has fledged at St. John on Friday.) The nest is at 3rd Avenue and 100th Street.  Hawks had built a nest there last year, but no one reported it being successful.  I had forgotten about it.  So, it was great to see it a eyass close to fledging age on the nest.


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2016 Manhattan Nests - Update 9

Please email with any corrections or additions.

Changes are the confirmation the 84th and West End nest has hatched and the viewing of a single eyass at CCNY.  The Grant's Tomb nest no longer has an eyass on the nest, but there are no signs of a fledgling, so the nest may have had an eyass death.

Hawks 2016-9


Seaside Sparrows

In a little park on the Hudson River Greenway, Clinton Cov, there have been a group of Seaside Sparrows for the last few days.  This species is usually very hard to find in salt marshes, so having these birds hanging out on a lawn and median between a sidewalk and a bike path, has been a great joy for birders used to spending hours to see a brief glimpse.

There being easy to find has had its drawbacks however.  One of the sparrows became a meal for an American Kestrel on Friday.


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2016 Manhattan Nests - Update 7

Please email with any corrections or additions. 

Changes are basically in the number of eyasses confirmed at each nest.  This count will grow as the eyasses become easier to see.

Hawks 2016-7a


2016 Manhattan Nests - Update 6

Please email with any corrections or additions.

Updates are:

  • Washington Square Park nest has hatched.  One hatch confirmed, but I suspect all three have hatched by now.
  • Feeding observed at Tompkins Square Park.
  • Two eyasses confirmed at 116th and Riverside.
  • Conflicting reports, but the 96th and Fifth nest appears to have failed.
  • At least two eyasses have been been in Pale Male/Octavia's Fifth Avenue nest.

(I suspect that Inwood Hill has hatched, but I just haven't received a report yet.)

Hawks 2016-6


116th and Riverside Has Hatched

Although we can't see the eyasses yet, frequent trips off the nest by the female, flies, what look like feedings and the male bringing in food, make it clear the nest has hatched.  Nice to see a young couple with a new nest be successful.  Between this nest, the Grant's Tomb nest and the Peregrine Falcons on Riverside Church this should be a fun area to watch.  And St. John the Divine is also a short walk away!


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Hatch Watch Begins Soon

NYC hawk watchers will be looking at nests for signs of hatching over the next few weeks.  Calculating hatches can be complicated.  While egg take 28-25 days to incubate

  • females may begin to sit on nests a few days before they lay their eggs
  • egg are laid 36-48 hours apart and incubation may not fully begin until the last egg is laid
  • an egg takes about a day to hatch as the chick pips out of the egg and feeding usually doesn't begin right after hatching

Since we can rarely look into a nest, we'll be looking for signs of a hatch such as a hawk slice from an eyass (pooping chick), a victory flight lap by the parents or lots of food being brought to the nest by the male and a first feeding.  It takes a few extra days from when we see a feeding until we can see fuzzy heads too.

We might see a hatch by next weekend and certainly within two weeks.  It's a great time watch a nest and a sure sign that spring has arrived.


More photos of 96th Street

With better weather, I got to see a nest exchange and both hawks of the 96th Street pair today.  Both hawks look great.  It was the first time I got a good look at the male. 

I look forward to learning about this pair over the next few months.  It should be a fun summer in Central Park.


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Channel Islands National Park

I was in L.A. for Easter but made a side trip to whale watch around the Channel Islands on Good Friday.  Lots of great wildlife, including Brown Boobies, Spotted Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, Dolphins, Brown Pelicans, Fin and Gray Whales.

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