I got to see both Tompkins Square Hawks tonight, but was only able to photograph one on a church cross. I'll be away next week and then we'll soon be back on standard time, so hawk watching will become a weekend activity soon.
The Red-tails of Tompkins Square Park have been building a nest this past week in a tree. For a pair that's had two air conditioner nests, it's been a surprise. I didn't get to see any nest building tonight, but did see the female work her way around the park and go to roost. She took 50 minutes from when she went to roost to shutting her eyes. This was much longer than I expected.
I saw both parents today on a chimney, then saw Dora on a church cross on Avenue B. She's molting, so she looks a little "rough" right now. No sign of the youngsters who have been difficult to find.
In July, I was very busy with work and then on vacation, so I didn't have much time to hawk watch. I finally had some free time and was able to visit Avenue A and Fifth Avenue this afternoon.
Hawk Watching can be frustrating. Most fledgings have learned to hunt and are going further and further away from their home base. And they're becoming more independent, venturing away from siblings and parents.
So, I wasn't surprised when I only saw one fledgling briefly on the Most Holy Redeemer Church today. That's normal for August.
The whole Avenue A family, the parents and the three fledglings were on the Most Holy Redeemer Church on Third Street this evening. It was great to see all three fledglings at once.
One of them has been getting him/herself into trouble over the last few days. Once it hung out low on Avenue A and had to be relocated to the park, and then two days later it flew into an air shaft. So, it was great to see all three flying around the church.
Dinner for one of the fledglings was a rat, which it stole from a sibling!
A store right below the Avenue A nest made the most out of the mess they endured while the eyasses were above. They created a great window display of the eggs and the eyasses. Worth a detour if you're on the Lower East Side. 45 Avenue A between 3rd and 4th Streets.
I went down to Avenue A to see how everyone was doing after the excitement on Wednesday, where one of the hawks got relocated to Tompkins Square Park.
I was able to find four of the hawks, but not the one who went to TSP. It had been last seen in the morning. (There were lots of robins attacking something at the top of a tree, near where the bird had been released so it might just have been too high to find.)
The four hawks were together on the Most Holy Redeemer Church.
- Adult Male
- Adult Female
Two of three eyasses fledged today. One to a bar and the other to a church and then a school. How Alphabet!
I went looking to see if the Avenue A nest had fledged on Friday, to find all three eyasses still on the nest. I was a day to early. One fledged on Saturday morning! But they were fun to watch as there last day as an air conditioner trio.
The nest on Avenue A continues to do well. It's a little crowded on the air conditioner, but they're managing. The parents spent most of the evening across the street on the church, with the mother making one brief visit.
The adult male brought food to the nest and the three eyasses ate on their own, a sign they're growing up and will be fledging in a few weeks. The eyasses can be aggressive in going after the food, and one was today, quickly taking it from their father.
It began to rain, so I had to pack up my camera, but I still watched the nest. After about twenty minutes of letting the eyasses work on the food by themselves, the mother came in to help them finish their meal.
The trio at Avenue A and Third Street are doing well, however their window could use some cleaning after they leave! It's going to be a little tight on that nest once jump/flapping starts.
We might have a repeat of last year, where one of the hawks fledges much later than its siblings!
The Avenue A & 3rd Street nest hatched about a week ago. There are three eyasses. Tonight I arrived just as their mother return to the nest and fed them. The father was on top of a cross on a nearby church.
After visiting Washington Square it was off to Avenue A, and the new location of the Tompkins Square Park nest. This location is going to be hard to photograph. But the apartment owners have set up a camera, Avenue A Camera, so it should be a fun nest to follow.
My first stop on Sunday was Washington Square Park, where the pair was copulating on 1 Fifth Avenue when I arrived in the park. With the high winds, they seemed to be in no mood to move, so I went off to Tompkins Square Park.
The Tompkins Square Park nest has moved to Avenue A between 3rd and 4th Street on the north side of the avenue on a top floor air conditioner. The hawks brought twigs to the nest while I was there.
On early Sunday afternoon, I arrived at Tompkins Square Park to find the two adults circling just east of the park. They circled and circled, getting higher and higher until they joined at least two other Red-tailed Hawks and what looked like another species of raptor. The Red-tailed Hawks escorted out the intruder.
When it was over the two Tompkins Square Park hawks returned and they seemed to be escorting a pair of Red-tailed Hawks to move further north. My interpretation of the events was that the pair of hawks seen frequently in Stuyvesant Town may have been chasing an intruder, gotten support from the TSP Pair, but once the intruder was safely escorted out of both pairs territories, the Stuyvesant Town hawks had to be chased back to their territory.
After hearing two very upset hawks and watching workers try to install a piece of plexiglass (which seems to be a very bad idea), we ran into a member of the Christodora Co-op Board who explained what was happening at the Christodora House.
The building is starting a two year facade renovation which will require surrounding the building with a protective screen so all the brickwork can be replaced. If you've seen the top of the Christodora, which has mesh on top of almost the entire top floor to prevent brickwork from falling, you know this is an urgent and necessary project.
So, the buildings actions to remove the nest and discourage the hawks from reestablishing a nest are entirely justified. It's better to force the hawks to relocate, then to have them injured during the construction.
But you have to wonder about two things:
1) How naïve the building's board and management company must be not to have had a press release ready to explain their actions? The Christodora House nest did get huge coverage in the NYC tabloids. It was big news. Didn't the board know about the problems at Pale Male's nest and the recent fines levied against a construction crew on Central Park West?
2) What the heck are they doing with that sheet of plexiglass? Imagine what would happen if one of the adult hawks flies into the plexiglass and is injured? Looks like the Christodora House needs some adult supervision.
On Friday, Tompkins Square Park bird watchers discovered the hawk nest had been removed from the seventh floor air conditioner of the Christodora House. In its place was a strip of pigeon spikes.
On Saturday and Sunday the hawks, which the locals have named Christo and Dora, worked overtime to start rebuilding the nest.
Irregardless of the ethics or legalities surrounding the removal of an established nest during the winter, we're now in a difficult situation.
If the co-op owner, management company or a construction crew had a legitimate reason to remove the nest, their recent actions haven't dissuaded the hawks from moving. So, will the building just torture the hawks by removing the nesting materials each week until spring? That certainly would be cruel.
And if the nest is now left as is, will the pigeon spike cause a problem for the eyasses safety this spring?
I suspect this situation will end up being escalated to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Let's hope that either the building is forced to let the hawks continue nesting on the Christodora House or if the hawks are to be evicted, that old nest site is properly prepared so the hawks begin to find an alternate nesting location as soon as possible.
I got to the park just after sunset and got a brief look at one of the hawks before it went down Avenue A to roost.