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.

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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.

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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.


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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.  

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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.


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