Everglades Birding

I spent Christmas week in the Everglades.  It has been unusually wet, so the birding was limited.  However, I did get to see some great birds, including this Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Egret and Barred Owl.

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Merry Christmas

It was sixty degrees in Central Park today.  The Great Horned Owl continued to be present and an Accipiter, either a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen nearby.

After the fly out of the Owl, it cleaned its talons and then broke off a branch and chewed on it.  This has happened on previous nights.  I've looked for any mention of this behavior on the internet and haven't found anything that gives a clue about the reason for this interesting behavior.


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WINORR Fundraiser

Cathy St. Pierre has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for WINORR (Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation), which Cathy runs along with her husband, Bobby Horvath.

WINORR has been critical to the comeback of Red-tailed Hawks in New York City.  Not only do they provide much needed rehabilitation resources, they act as consultants to the Parks Department and participate in educational programs thought the city.

It would be great if the Hawk Watching community could help Cathy quickly get to her modest goal of raising $5,000.

Click here to donate.

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Prospect Park Weekend

Prospect Park in Brooklyn had two birds that I had never seen before, a Painted Bunting and a Black-headed Gull.  The Painted Bunting has been in the park for a week and has become a celebrity.  Unfortunately, it was very difficult to photograph.  I only got some poor back photographs, that didn't capture the wonderful bright colors of the bird.  Luckily, I did better with the Black-headed Gull. It was very cooperative!


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American Kestrel

I went to Governors Island for the afternoon, and did the typical tourist stuff.  But I did get some great view of an American Kestrel.  The ferry to the island is only $2 and runs through the last weekend in September.


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Wrestling Raccoons

On a very hot evening, I looked for the sick fledgling in Central Park without success.  But I did have some fun watching two raccoons play at dusk.


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Darien Osprey, A Month Later

The Osprey nest in Darien, CT no longer has two little ones, but two large fledglings flying on and off the nest.  They're doing great and it was fun to watch then for an afternoon.  Highlights included a number of "food fights" over fish the father brought, and watching the mother go wading and then bathing in the ocean.

The birds with rows of small dots on the wings and yellow on the back of their necks are the fledglings, and the mother has markings on her upper breast, which are much fainter on the male.


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Long Island Sound Osprey

Over the July 4th weekend, I got to watch a pair of Opsrey and their two young ones on a tiny island in Long Island Sound. So, much more fun than fireworks!


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Central and Morningside Parks 2015

I'm looking forward to the 2015 Red-tailed Hawk nest hatches in Central and Morningside Parks.  We have three confirmed nests in Central Park, a pair seen frequently in the NE section of the Central Park, and our Cathedral hawks have a new nest location exposed to the elements.

With any new season, I look forward to discovering new aspects of urban Red-tailed Hawk behavior.

Three Central Park nests is fantastic news this year.  But one has to wonder about locations and why these three nests are so close together?  Do these three Red-tailed hawk pairs benefit by having protected flanks from the other pairs?  Does this outweigh any issues over food contention, etc.?  Or did the new nest locations have nothing to do with the other nest locations?  It will be interesting to see when other raptor species fly over the park, if the Red-tailed Hawks work together to escort them away.  And which pair will tale over the Locust Grove.

The Beresford Apartment nest will have new fledglings who will have to cross Central Park West to end up in Central Park or maybe even Teddy Roosevelt Park.  Which buildings will they perch on the first few weeks?  The Museum of Natural History?  Or like many Red-tails, will they try to get as high as possible the first week and end up back on the Beresford?  Where will the parents take them to hunt?  South to the calm lawn south of The Yard?  Or up North?

How will the exposed nest do at the Cathedral of Saint John?  Will it be as productive as St. Andrew had been?

And is there a forth pair nesting near the park?  Almost all of the experienced hawk watchers in Central Park saw a pair of hawks all winter around the Conservatory Garden.  In April, many of us have seen a single hawk in the park, who flies over to Madison Avenue between 100th to 106th.  Is there a nest tucked away a block from the park or in the public housing east of Madison?

I'm looking forward to learning more about Red-tailed Hawks this season.  How fantastic is it that one of the best places to study Red-tailed Hawks is in the middle of Big Apple!  New York City truly is one hell of a town.

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Chuck Will's-widow At Night

I went down to Bryant Park to look at the Chuck Will's-widow at night to see if I could take pictures of it feeding.  I did get to see it but it was only perching while I visited.  At least it was awake!


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Harbor Seals

On winter Sunday afternoons, NYC Audubon hosts a harbor cruise in association NYC Water Taxi. I took the cruise today and had a great time watching birds and harbor seals out in the NYC harbor.

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Another Day With The Couch's Kingbird

Friday was a tougher day to see the Couch's Kingbird, than Thursday.  It was harder to find and when found didn't stay around as much. 

When I was watching it, the most reliable location was 11th and 4th Streets again.   I did find a berry tree just south of 11th Street, which could be seen from West 4th and Perry, where American Robins and the Couch's Kingbird were eating berries.  I suspect the bird is eating and then taking advantage of the sun on 11th Street to digest them.


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Couch's Kingbird

Another rare Kingbird, is in New York besides the Cassin's in Brooklyn.  It's a Couch's Kingbird and is in Greenwich Village.  I saw it as my first bird of the New Year.  (It was a life bird for me.)  The bird was discovered by Zack Winestine.

The bird which is normally in Mexico and southern Texas, is for some reason in some of the most charming blocks of the Village.  This afternoon, it was mostly at 11th and 4th Streets.  (In the Village, these two streets do meet!)

From the looks of the seeds it's regurgitating, it's surviving on a diet of mostly fruit rather than insects.


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Opossum

Today was the Christmas Bird Count for Central Park.  The count had a fairly standard variety of species and population of birds.  The highlight was three Ring-necked Ducks on the Reservoir.

But the real attraction for me was an Opossum that was found on the west side of the park.  It was a first for me in Central Park.

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