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 owners of the coop, Steve Nislick and Linda Marcus, installed a nest box on the exterior of their apartment building without getting clearance from their coop board, the NYC buildings department, or the landmarks commission.
Neither the NYC DEP or the NYS DEC agencies, both who have staff's that install and monitor nest boxes around the NYC area, were contacted before the box was installed. (Peregrine Falcons have protected status in NYS, having previously been endangered.)
The building is not advocating the eviction of the falcons, but the removal of an illegally installed next box.
This is a case that is very much different than Pale Male and Lola, where a pair of hawks naturally nested and through a loophole created by the Bush administration the coop took down the nest causing an uproar.
This is a man made situation, where rich apartment owners conscienceless choose not to contact the correct agencies, and now are paying the price. I guess Steve Nislick and Linda Marcus were more concerned about making sure the nest box was installed on their ledge, then letting the city or state environmental agencies determine where to locate the nest box.
So, a warning. Don't get manipulated by the NY Post story. This is not the same thing as what happened to Pale Male and Lola.
If you want to write letters, ask the New York State DEC to work with the coop board to find a safer location on the building (or a nearby building) to put up a nest box that doesn't violate building codes or the landmarks laws. This is something Steve Nislick and Linda Marcus should have done in 2010 when the Peregrine Falcons first appeared on their ledge!
Think how many young Peregrines could have hatched, if Steve Nislick and Linda Marcus had worked with the NYC DEP or the NYS DEC years ago.
Starting in late July, hawk watching in New York City becomes much harder. Fledglings, who had been yelling for food, are now quiet having learned to hunt. Warm weather has the hawks relaxing and staying put, making them harder to spot. And everyone, young and old have dispersed to wider and wider areas. Gone are those nice spots the families came to for meals together at regular hours!
So on Saturday, I had my first hawk free day of the summer. I didn't pick up a single hawk on a trip through Central Park.
This Sunday, I did find two hawks however. Pale Male up at 86th and Fifth Avenue, and one of the Sheep Meadow fledglings at The Mall.
I've missed the Sheep Meadow fledglings the last few times I've looked for them. Tonight, I missed them yet again, but I saw one of the parents for about an hour.
While watching the parent, I ran across folks who had seen both of the fledglings earlier in day. I also ran into a couple who had photographed one of them on the railing of a flowerbed on Fifth Avenue at 72nd Street with their iPhone. It was nice to know they were doing well, even if I didn't get to see them.
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!
Although the fledglings at Tompkins Square Park have been hunting on their own for awhile, tonight was the first time I witnessed it myself. There is something great about watching a young hawk show that it will be able to be independent from its parents.
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!
Summerstage had a hip hop concert blaring music while this Sheep Meadow hawk did some squirrel hunting. It came up empty, but reports are a fledgling caught two pigeons earlier in the day in the same area.
I got to see one of the fledglings for over two hours around the Obelisk (sometimes referred to Cleopatra's Needle), west of the Met. This was fun since there were lots of good looks at the bird.
However, the mystery of the day was a large adult Red-tailed Hawk, who wasn't Pale Male or Ocativa, who showed up nearby. This coupled with the rescue of a young hawk around the tennis courts at 96th Street last week had hawk watchers wondering.
Could the young hawk could have been from an unknown nest of the pair that tired to nest along CPW these last two years? And could the adult hawk we saw be the parent of this youngster, investigating the cries from Pale Male and Ocatavia's children, in case they were the parent's missing fledgling?
I don't think we'll ever know but it makes a great story!
Update: It looks like the youngster that was picked up at the tennis courts is most likely one of the Cathedral fledglings, which makes sense given their exposure to Frounce. So, this extra adult's appearance may have not explanation.
I had dinner down at The Cardinal on 4th Street tonight and made a quick trip to Tompkins Square Park. I found one of the fledglings down on 8th Street and an adult on the flag pole. It was nice to be back with New York City hawks.
I'm still out at the Grand Canyon and found this young Turkey Vulture on a cliff face.
It's so great to be on vacation and see the breeding locations of birds you see migrating through New York City in the spring and the fall. I've never seen a young Turkey Vulture before! Cute, but still with a face only a mother could love!
I had the good fortune to see these five California Condors arrive outside my hotel room during the World Cup Final. Five Condors is 7% of the wild AZ/UT population! Guess what took priority! The tag numbers were 23, 30, J1, J4, L3.
The Tompkins Square Park Adult Male brought three rodents to the fledglings this evening. It wasn't clear if he feed two (with one getting seconds) or all three. There were lots of flights and it was very hard to keep track of who was who.
The video and pictures below contain many of two of the rodents being eaten. Skip this post if it might bother you.
I got to see all of the Fifth Avenue fledglings on Sunday. One was west of the Met, and two were around the Cedar Hill area.
The two near Cedar Hill had a little tussle over some food with both of them ending up on a lawn.
All of the hawks looked well feed and the one who had been closing its right eye frequently yesterday was back to normal. All of them also seem to have mastered flying and soaring. They aren't hunters yet, but they're no longer newbies either.
After visiting the Sheep Meadow fledglings, it was off to see the Fifth Avenue fledglings. They were around Cedar Hill and nearby locations. Pale Male and Octavia flew overhead, but I ran into Pale Male much further north near the South Gate House of the Reservoir and the Met roof.
I saw all of the fledglings. One fledgling was closing its right eye a great deal. It was hard to tell if this was normal/minor or if something more serious was going on. I'm sure the hawk watchers at Fifth Avenue will be keeping track of this fledgling, just in case.
I finally got a chance to visit Central Park today.
My first stop was a look at the Peregrine Falcon nest, which yielded nothing. It was unclear if the birds had fledged or were sleeping. I suspect they've fledged, but will need to make another trip back to be sure.
Then it was off to Sheep Meadow to look for the fledglings. I always suspected they would hang out among the fenced off American Elms along the Mall, and that's exactly where I found them. Both were in the same tree one on a lower branch and one on a higher branch. They were very relaxed and looked healthy and well fed.
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.
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.