Adult Red-tailed Hawks generally tolerate juvenile hawks in their territories in the fall but start be aggressive with juveniles once the days start getting longer in the winter.
Today, after watching the adult male of Tompkins Square Park begin to do some hunting, all hell broke loose as a youngster came into the park. Soon both adults were chasing the youngster around the park and calling loudly. I wasn't able to capture the action very well, since it was late in the day and I only had a 600mm lens with me, but it was exciting to see.
This was the hawk causing all of the commotion.
As the days get shorter, our local hawks are spending more time closer to home and more time together. Tonight both of the Tompkins Square Red-tailed Hawks were in nearby trees for about a half hour.
(Once daylight saving time ends, I'll be unable to go hawk watching after work. So this is most likely my last weekday report until Spring.)
In the late summer, the adult male was the most frequent visitor to Tompkins Square park. The female was much harder to find.
As fall has arrived, both hawks are spending more time together in the park. On Saturday afternoon, they spent about 30 minutes together in a Gingko tree on the east side of the park.
Tonight, I found an adult Red-tailed Hawk on the towers of the Con Edison plant at Avenue C and 13th Street, who could have been the Adult Female of the Tompkins Square Park pair.
Later in the evening the Adult Male was in Tompkins Square Park, caught and ate two small rodents and then went to the roost tree he's been using the last week. There he did something I've never seen before, he was fascinated by a bat. A Red-tailed adult usually sits fairly still, but tonight this one moved his head all over the place keeping track of the bat as it caught insects in the SW corner of the park.
Tonight, we saw the adult male hawk and a fledgling. The father still comes to the park each evening, but at this point doesn't need to hunt for any of the fledglings. The youngster, who caught a pigeon (but didn't eat it) kept us on our toes flying around the park as well as hanging out of fire escapes on building surrounding the park.
The father was the only hawk I saw in Tompkins Square Park tonight. He came to his usual spot, where only a week ago he was regularly feeding the fledglings. But it looks like the fledglings are hunting on their own and don't need Dad's handouts.
Dad, who's molting and looking a bit scruffy, made a few hunting passes before catching something at the north end of the park. He ate it in the children's fountain area, which is locked up at 7, so no pictures of meal.
Being one of the latest nests in the city, Tompkins Square Park still has its fledglings staying fairly close to the nest. All of the fledglings seem to have picked up hunting skills fairly well. On Sunday, one of the fledglings did a great job of killing a pigeon.
The hawks even seemed to be drawn to some of the punk bands playing in the park over the weekend!
We got to see at least two youngsters and the adult male. The juveniles are hunting in Tompkins Square Park but the father is still bringing food, so tonight after one juvenile had a meal a fresh rat another rat went uneaten.
For about twenty minutes at dusk, two of fledglings perched at the S.W. entrance to the park and drew quite a crowd. It was funny because only moments before they were about twenty feet inside the park and the park regulars were completely blasé about them and just ignored them. It's tough being famous in New York City!
I made a visit to Tompkins Square Park on Friday. I got to see four Red-tailed Hawks flying high above the park and one fledgling on the nest, on the ground and in trees.
Late July and early August is a tough time for hawk watchers. The birds that tended to stay close to the nest are now covering a wider area and are harder to find.
The day after the final fledge of a nest, you realize how much harder it's going to find the hawks. Today, I was lucky to find two fledglings and the adult male this afternoon before the heat and humidity made me want to find some air conditioning!
One fledgling was on the school and the other was enjoying some shade on a tree in the park. The father came in with food and the fledgling in the shade made a quick flight to get lunch.
The last eyass on the nest at Tompkins Square Park finally left the nest Wednesday morning. When I arrived at the park in the early evening, I found the second fledgling and then the adult male.
Then it began to rain! I got to see the father try and hunt in the rain and watch the second fledgling change fly to a new tree. Then there was a break in the rain.
Three of us went looking for the new fledgling and the call of robins guided us to the middle of the block of 8th Street between Avenue A and B. We found the third fledgling on the edge of a roof overlooking a community garden. It looked very peaceful even as the rain started to come down hard.
At that point, knowing the youngster was safe, I went home to get into dry clothes!
The last eyass to fledge at Tompkins Square Park was joined by a sibling on the nest for about 45 minutes on Tuesday evening.
This generally doesn't happen. Once an eyass leaves the nest, it generally ignores it. Experienced hawk watchers when asked if the fledglings will be returning to or sleeping on the nest usually say something like "The nest is really just a nursery, don't expect the fledglings to return to it."
But this evening after seeing a parent pick at food on the nest, a fledgling decided to check out the nest and look for food. It also spent some time flapping and jumping, as if to say to its yet to fledge sibling, "here's how it's done".
The eyass who hasn't fledged, who has been doing a lot of jump flapping, was finally seen rapidly beating its wings and hovering tonight. A good sign that it is mature enough to go when ever it decides to "leave home". The gap between the first and the last to fledge is now at eight days, a time period much larger anyone would have expected.
A week after the first fledgling left the Tompkins Square Park nest we still have a rather mature eyass on the nest. I can't believe it will be feldging in July!
Early evenings seems to be bringing all of the youngsters together near the nest for an evening feeding. Tonight all of the young hawks were spaced about 100 feet from one another.
With one eyass still on the nest at Tompkins Square Park, we're all getting a little impatient watching. Its siblings left last Monday and Tuesday, so it's been a surprise that this last one hasn't gone yet.
At least tonight, when it's parents and siblings were around the nest, and food was shown for a long time in a tree in the park, the eyass looked like it was interested in leaving the nest. On past days, it would usually just take a nap!
The fledglings are getting very mobile and are exploring trees in the park now. It's getting harder and harder to find them!
Tompkins Square Park continues to provide amusement. Even thought there is still an eyass on the nest, the two fledglings are providing lots of entertainment. They were in trees and rooftops keeping us running around.
The parents were also active with lots of views, especially of the male, whose current molt is resulting in tail feathers with a much more narrow sub-terminal band. Still wider than the females, but no longer so pronounced.
I hope the last eyass finally fledges on Sunday!
Tonight, the two fledglings and the eyass still on the nest were visible for about an hour from a single spot on 9th Street. It was great fun to be able to keep track all of them.
In addition, there was an adult eating on 10th Street and a fledgling playing on a roof at 10th and Avenue B, later in the evening. I always enjoy watching young hawks learn how to do the simple things, like turn around on a pipe. It takes some getting used to!
The youngest bird is finally getting a long enough tail and darker head feathers. I would expect the last fledge will be on Friday or Saturday.
Tompkins Square Park still has a reluctant eyass who hasn't fledged, along with two fledglings. For a brief moment all three could be viewed at once. Two in different trees and one on the nest. All looked just great and well fed, with the fledglings moving between building roofs and park trees with ease. It should be a fun summer on the Lower East Side.
The first fledgling from Tompkins Square Park flew off around 10:45 a.m. on Monday. It was relocated in an airshaft in the early evening across the street from the nest. Red-tailed Hawks can get stuck in narrow airshafts, so Ranger Rob Mastrianni was called to relocate the bird to a tree in the park.
Ranger Rob arrived, captured the fledgling, check its health and quickly got it relocated. The fledgling soon explored the tree it was placed in, while the parents watched over it from a nearby tree.
I love it when a neighborhood gets together to enjoy a fledge and also watch out for a young bird's health. This happened today. Residents of the Lower East Side should be proud of their neighboors who looked out for the welfare of an innocent young bird today. They're all real hawk watchers now!
One of the nice things about getting to know Red-tailed Hawks is to learn the variations between individuals. In Red-tails, this is most evident in the role the father takes once the eyasses are born. Some fathers just delivery food, while others help with preening and feeding the eyasses.
At Tompkins Square Park, the father is very involved with the eyasses care and spent a great deal of time grooming them Friday afternoon. Hipster dad for the hipster neighborhood.
In these pictures, especially the last few, you'll see the mother acting as a sun shade for the eyasses. I can't figure out how they fit under her at this point with the eyasses being so big.
The eyasses have grown up enough that if one is patient and waits for a feeding one can now get a very good view of them from the street. I had a great time on Sunday watching the hawks. Across the street from where I was watching was an afternoon first communion service at the local Roman Catholic parish. Many of the church goers stopped by and watched the hawks. I sometime get burnt out by lots of hawks questions, but this was fun group who really wanted to know about the hawks.