2017 Nest Update 12

This will be the last update for 2017.  The St. John nest has fledged.

Although the number of confirmed nests is lower than last year, all in all, 2017 was a good year.

Hawks 2017-12

2017 Nest Update 6

Changes from the last report:

  • Three eyasses confirmed at J. Hood Wright Park
  • Three eyasses confirmed at Grant's Tomb
  • Tompkins Square Park has one eyass

Hawks 2017-6

2017 Nest Update 5

Changes from the last report:

  • The 95th and Lexington nest has been abandoned
  • The J. Hood Wright Park nest has hatched according to observers
  • The Grant's Tomb has at least two eyasses
  • The Washington Square nest had an eyass die.  The current pair have had three nests.
    • In 2015 the nest produced 2 healthy fledglings
    • In 2016 there were two unhatched eggs and while one eyass fledged suscessfully, it had problems with late feather growth.
    • In 2017, there was one unhatched egg, one eyass that died in the first week and one hopefully healthy eyass.

The decline of the success rate for the Washington Square nest makes one question if there is a problem with the environment around the park.   We might be seeing the effects of low levels of rodenticides or some other agent.

Hawks 2017-5

Savannah Sparrows

Thanks to a Tompkins Square Park Birder's great spotting, I got to watch a group of migrating Savannah Sparrows in the park on Thursday evening.  It was a nice surprise in foggy weather.






2017 Nest Update 4


  • The Gorman Park Nest is brooding.  The female has been seen sitting on the nest
  • Although the J. Hood Wright Park nest is listed as not having hatched, it most likely has hatched but gone detected just yet.
  • It looks unlikely that the 3rd egg at Washington Square Park will hatch.

As always, please email me if you have any updates for this chart.

Hawks 2017-4

Cambria, California

I'm on vacation visiting family and enjoying the central California coast.  I had a great day watching sea mammals, including Harbor Seals, Elephant Seals and Sea Otters.















2017 Nest Update 2

After visiting the two nests on West End Avenue, and not seeing any sign of activity, I've moved them to the previous activity section.  This leaves us with eight confirmed nest for the year.  I suspect I am missing nests in Harlem and Washington Heights.

Hawks 2017

2017 Nest Update 1

It looks like we might have fewer nests this year in Manhattan, but I'm sure we'll get more news after nests hatch.   Eight nests are confirmed to have brooding pairs.  I haven't gotten reports about CCNY and have gotten conflicting reports about the two West End Avenue nests.

There are also a number of areas where nests may be found over the next month.  I also suspect that we're missing nests in Harlem and Tribeca.

Hawks 2017

American Woodcock and Wilson's Snipe

After the snowstorm the park ended up with an record number of over 40 American Woodcocks on Thursday.  It also had a Wilson's Snipe.  While the number of American Woodcocks was much lower in the park today, I was able to get photographs of both species. The first two photographs are of the American Woodcock, the rest are of the Wilson's Snipe.

Link to New York Times about this year's Woodcock migration.











Intelegence Reports Wanted

I've started a new Manhattan Red-tailed Hawk Nest spreadsheet for 2017.  It's been too cold to venture up north for me to see how the upper Manhattan nests, so it's missing any details for nest above 125th Street.  If you have any input on these nests or news of any new nests, please drop me a note.  Thanks.

Hawks 2017

First-Year Red-tailed Hawk and the Red-headed Woodpecker

I explored the SE section of Central Park on Saturday.  My first stop was The Pond, where right next to the Plaza Hotel some fun birds for the winter are a Wood Duck, Northern Pintail, and a Great Blue Heron.  Then it was off to see how the Red-headed Woodpecker was doing.  While I was on my way, I spotted a young Red-tailed hawk.  A nice afternoon of birding.












Amazing eBird Checklist

The birding community has long supported citizen science by reporting bird sightings to scientists.  In our digital world, the most popular system for reporting bird sightings is run by Cornell Labs, ebird.org.

Sightings can be recored via the web or by using an iOS or Android phone app.  It's a fantastic system for reporting bird sightings, keeping your "life list" and finding out what birds have been seen in a specific area.  

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 10.53.26 AM
The Ross's Gull is an Arctic gull, and is rarely seen in the continental United States.  This eBird.org map shows the sightings in the US over the last five years.

Recently, a Ross's Gull was sighted near the airport at Half Moon Bay in California.  (It's an area I know well, as my sister lives only twenty minutes away in Pacifica.)    There were lots of reports sent to eBird.org as shown by this eBird.org map, Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 10.50.55 AM

Unfortunately, the Ross's Gull was taken by a Peregrine Falcon this last Saturday, resulting in an eBirds.org checklist by Peter Sole that will go down as one of the most classic checklists ever.

Peter Sole's ebird.org checklist for the Ross's Gull.

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.