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.
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!