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.
The eyasses are still too small to get good glimpses of yet, but the parents doing a great job hunting for them and feeding them.
The Alphabet neighborhood is really excited to have this nest. It's been nice to see people be curious about their new guests. I must have had 40 people ask me questions about the hawks today.
The Tompkins Square Park nest has three eyasses and I was able to catch a feeding by the mother, followed by a small feeding by the father in the early evening. Happy Mother's Day to the new parents.
If you're trying to tell the adults apart, the male of this pair is (like most male hawks) is about a third smaller than the female. This particular male also has a lighter colored head, and a much stronger black band on his red tail than his mate.
Two of the three eggs have hatched and I got to see a feeding of squirrel meat today. This was the last nest to hatch in Manhattan, so it's great to move on from the brooding stage where nothing much happens.
The parents seem to know what they're doing, even if it might be their first time!
In the morning, I visited Randall's Island nest. I couldn't see any sign of hawks, but if they've gone back to the old nest, the female can hide fairly well. There's also a good chance that the pair moved, given the Peregrine Falcon nest nearby.
I then went to Tompkins Square Park, which is still a few days from hatching. Both hawks there looked healthy. Locals estimate the hatch date to be May 10th.
Then it was off to Washington Square to see how things were going. As usual, they continue to grow bigger and bigger. They can stand briefly and feather shafts are visable on their wings.
I arrived at the park on Sunday afternoon to find the male sitting in the nest and the female of the pair on top of the Christodora House roof. They exchanged places on the nest. The male flew to a nearby tree, and after a brief interval, the male broke off a twig and took it the nest.
He disappeared and then reappeared on a church cross on Avenue B. The nest has at least two eggs and this young pair seems to understand exactly what they need to do for the next four weeks.
There is at least one egg at the Tompkins Square Park nest. The female has started brooding and everything looks great so far. In addition to the Red-tailed Hawks, today there was an American Kestrel around the edge of the park both on Avenue A and Seventh Street.
Update: A second egg was laid on Thursday afternoon and a third was laid in the week.
I was hoping the Tompkins Square Park pair would start nesting soon, but they continue to act like a young couple. They're building the nest up a little higher and copulating a great deal, but seem to be in no rush to start having a family.
I guess that's not too bad. While the old guard is quietly sitting on nests, this pair gives me something to watch!
Later in the afternoon, the Tompkins Square Park provided the opposite experience from the Washington Square Park nest. The hawks who copulated three times in less than an hour and the colorful characters of the park, who also were observing the hawks, made the sound track not safe for work.
Newly established nests have a tendency to lay eggs later than older nests. So, no one should worry that this nest is a few weeks behind the more established nests in Central Park or Washington Square.
Although the late afternoon was quiet, before dusk there was lots of activity at Tompkins Square Park. It had the usual, copulation, rat hunting and nest visits. But the surprise of the day was the night time roosting location of the male. He choose a tree on the west side of Avenue A. He choose the noisiest place to roost in the neighborhood. Amazing.
Tompkins Square Park after years of hosting juvenile hawks, finally looks to have its own pair of adults who have built a nice nest on top of an air conditioning unit at 9th Street and Avenue B. I had gone to visit last weekend but didn't take any photographs as the hawks were inactive.
Today, I found two very active hawks. They copulated three times and flew around the park multiple times. The nest reminds me of the nest we had a number of years ago on Houston and Avenue D.
This pair is very, very easy to watch. This should be a fun year for the residents who live near the park.
I've begun using a Blackmagic Production Camera, which shoots in Ultra HD (four times the resolution of HD.) If you watch this video in full screen mode, you should have a great viewing viewing experience.
From north to south, we have the following confirmed nesting sites in Manhattan this year: Inwood Hill Park, Highbridge Park (back to the old location, which should be safer than last year's location), Lower Riverside Park (also in a new and safer location), Fifth Avenue and 888 Seventh Avenue. I visited all of them this weekend. They all seem to be in good shape, with chicks expected within the next few weeks.
Some nests have changed from last year.
There is no sign of a nest below 14th Street, although there have been reports of hawks downtown all winter, including Tompkins Square Park, the World Trade Center construction site, the Court Houses around Center Street, Seward Park, Washington Square Park and the Greenway.
Last year's nest on Houston Street is not being used again this year. The male from last year's nest died of Fronce and while hawks have been seen on the Lower East Side all winter, no signs of a new nest has been found.
The St. John the Divine's pair have both been seen recently but further uptown. Construction continues on the church and they may have moved but no one has found a new nest location. This one is a real mystery.
The Shepard Hall, City College nest looks bigger according to reports, but nest looks unoccupied. The hawks may be nesting somewhere nearby.
Here are pictures of four nests from this weekend:
I spent the early afternoon looking at the Riverside Red-tailed Hawk pair on Saturday. There nest is just off the Hudson River near 8st Street and looks great. Last year they laid eggs around mid-March, so the female should start sitting on the nest soon.
Other nests in Manhattan are doing well. Inwood Hill Park, Highbridge Park, St. John the Divine and 5th Avenue nests are doing fine. The Highbridge nest is back to its old spot.
The Central Park South pair is still there but I don't have any details about their nest. The Houston female lost her mate last year, and may be nesting on the ConEd plant around 14th Street. The pair that was around the City College campus remains a mystery.
Sightings of hawks this winter around the north end of Riverside Park and around the Court House buildings on Center Street make these locations possibilities for new nests this year.
03/14/2009 in 5th Avenue Red-tailed Hawks, General News, Highbridge Park Red-tailed Hawks, Inwood Hill Park Red-tailed Hawks, Lower East Side Red-tailed Hawks, Other Eagles, Hawks and Falcons, Other Red-tailed Hawks, Riverside Park Red-tailed Hawks, Southern Central Park Red-tailed Hawks | Permalink