Mid-August can be a frustrating time to watch hawks. Juveniles are becoming harder to find as they expand their range, and for some precocious ones, begun to migrate. So, for the last week I've had to be content to find some adult hawks in both Washington and Tompkins Square Parks.
It was too hot to stay too long watching the Tompkins Square Hawks. Plus the punk bands celebrating the TSP riot, were a little too loud. But I did get to see two fledglings and Dora. There was a funny squirrel/hawk standoff too. A squirrel climbed a small tree that the hawk was in, and then realized it wasn't a good idea. Luckily, no one was hurt.
I didn't spend much time in Tompkins Square Park this evening, but saw a fledgling near Avenue A, two young hawks soaring over the Lower East Side and Dora on a church cross.
Tonight, Christo acted almost like it was late fall. He spend the evening in the park, casting a pellet, visited the flag pole and did some hunting. It was nice to spend time with him. One of the fledglings was also in the park and on nearby buildings. A nice evening, finally with some normal temperatures too.
This evening, a fledgling caught another Rock Pigeon and had a meal of it. While it was eating both parents, arrived and Christo, the male gave Dora a pigeon to eat. Humorously, the fledgling who had just eaten a whole pigeon, stole the pigeon from Dora.
New York City has begun to experiment with Dry Ice (frozen CO2) as an alternative to using rat poisons in city parks. The technique has turned out to be very effective and as been used recently in a few parks with known Red-Tailed Hawk populations in Manhattan.
Articles about the program have appeared in the New York Daily News and on NY1. For years there has been tension between hawk lovers and rat haters, and this solution seems to be a wonderful alternative to rodenticide use, that works for everyone.
Kudos to those who wrote letters of complaint after the death of the hawk earlier this year downtown, and many, many thanks to the Department of Health and the Parks Department for finding a safer rat control solution.
Today we watched a fledgling do at least fifteen hunting runs before finally catching a Rock Pigeon in Tompkins Square Park. It was exciting to watch and may have been one of the fledglings first kills.
The hawk's sibling hunted a different way. It stole the pigeon leftovers from its sibling!
It looks like the fledglings at Tompkins Square Park are growing up and venturing farther and farther from the park. They've been venturing down to 4th Street and Avenue A, on churches and public housing. They've also been on the top of the Christodora Apartments frequently.
But there has still be at least one fledgling near the pool each day. But this might not last long. As July turns into August, the fledglings are going to get harder and harder to find.
The first sighting of the night was a hawk on the top of the Christodora House. It was exploring the scaffolding. The second was hanging out by the General Slocum memorial. It started to hunt, and ended up by a family feeding squirrels. Luckily the young hawk didn't catch any of them.
Near the end of the evening this hawk flew to Avenue A and 10th Street to beg a parent for food. The parent wasn't having any of it, and so the young hawk tried to catch some pigeons.
I couldn't find the Fifth Avenue fledglings today, but did get to spend a good deal of time watching Pale Male on the bridle path just south of the Central Park Reservoir. Octavia flew in and out briefly, but otherwise Pale Male just relaxed in the hot weather.
For about two hours the Washington Square Park fledgling perched on two locations, the Furman Hall roof and the cross of Judson Memorial Church. He briefly circled the park but returned to the cross. Not much excitement, but it was nice to watch him.
The three fledglings in Tompkins Square Park were having a great time on Sunday afternoon. They were very active and played on the ground chasing sticks, one had a meal, and another ended up bathing in a playground fountain. Just like any youngster, it's so fun to watch them learn through play.
The fledglings in Tompkins Square Park are still being feed by their father. This evening one of them got a pigeon. The fledglings have begun to explore beyond the park as well, with the abandoned school on 9th Street becoming a common destination.
Tompkins Square Park continues to be lots of fun with fledglings enjoying the park and the fenced in lawns. Friday afternoon had two enjoying the east side of the park.
One Friday afternoon, I caught up with the Washington Square Park fledgling in a tree about 50 yards west of the fountain. While I was there he spent at least 45 minutes preening and looking at the pigeons near his perch. He looked in no rush to move on the hot and humid afternoon, so I took off for Tompkins Square Park.
We found two of the youngsters and their father in the park this evening. One was playing on the roof of the Men's room, playing hide and seek with a squirrel and then taking a bath. The other was in a nearby tree and their father was hunting near a dumpster.
One last nest update. The single fledgling at 84th and West End fledged a week or two ago while I was away.
The Sheep Meadow hawks may have nested on the SE corner of the Plaza this year and had three eyasses. The nest can not be seen from the street, and it is unclear if they have fledged yet. Any reports from the SE corner of the park would be welcome.
The two fledglings on Fifth Avenue had a mellow afternoon keeping cool and hunting behind the Kerbs Boathouse on Tuesday. Some seasons we have reluctant fliers or hunters and this season it great to have two healthy fledglings doing so well.
On my last visit to Darien, I counted three chicks, but now that they are larger, it's clear there are four. The nest was very busy with lots of feedings.
There was also an interesting "sponge bath" of grass, that the mother brought up to the nest as well. Plus there was an intruder Osprey who made a half-hearted attempt to steal a fish from the nest.