More gray than white now, you can see the eyasses' wing feathers start to grow in. They've begun venturing out on the ledge to the right of the nest too. It's a great time to watch them, although it helps to have a spotting scope rather than just binoculars at this stage. While I visited in the early afternoon, not much happened and the female took an extended trip off the nest. I think I must have just missed a feeding.
Nests can be difficult to watch. Eyasses can be sleeping or too young to see, but today at the model boat pond the bench had lots of afternoon action. Active youngsters, still fluffy but large enough to see doing all kinds of things on the nest. If you haven't seen them yet, and are nearby, grab you binoculars and go!
The mother brought in some leaves today. Perfect for helping with a messy nest.
The opening shots of Pale Male and Octavia have them preched on the Carlyle Hotel's roof at 76th and Madison.
If I counted properly, we have three eyasses in the Sheep Meadow nest this year. They were tough to see. Their mother left unattended for a good period and then returned to a perch above them kept an eye on them for over an hour before returning to the nest. She was also keeping an eye on the workers building a huge stage and sound systems for the AIDS Walk on Sunday.
Today, I worked on testing my new live broadcasting setup. The technology is maturing and I hope to be able to do weekly broadcasts. My Livestream page is livestream.com/urbanhawks. Follow me to be notified of broadcasts.
This year my live broadcast technology stack includes:
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K EF
Røde Stereo Microphone
Various Canon Lenses and teleconverters, including a 600mm L II f/4 lens
ikan V-mount Batteries and Switronix Jetpack for Power
Teradek Vidiu Encoder with a SDI to HDMI converter
Teradek Live:Air iPad Production Suite running on an iPad Mini 3
iPhone 6 for LTE G4 connectivity and a mobile WiFi network
Think of all this as a mobile news van shrunk down to the size of a backpack.
On a hot day, the eyasses seemed to be more interested in sleeping than anything else. I didn't get good video or stills, nor did I solve the riddle of how many eggs hatched (most likely only two of the three eggs). But I did get a sunburn. Hopefully, I'll have better luck later in the week.
I had visited the Sheep Meadow nest on Friday. Except for the female being higher in the nest than normal, there was no sign of a hatch. But today, after a visit by the male who seemed to be mesmerized by the contents of the nest, the female did a brief feeding. It will be a few days before we can take "baby pictures", but it's great to see these hawks do well in their second year.
This year, the male has a strange tail feather. While red in color it has stripes like a juvenile feather. Something I've never seen before on a Red-tailed Hawk.
Although most of the 5th Avenue bench thought we had three eyasses, today was the first time I could see for sure. The video is a nice long feeding of all three youngsters. Enjoy the little ones. They'll be grown up before you know it!
(The second video is the same as the first, except is cropped differently. It will make it easier to see the eyasses on smartphones and other small screens.)
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.
The Fifth Avenue eyasses are now visible during feedings. Pale Male was on the nest when I arrived, who was quickly replaced by Octavia, who fed the eyasses.
At this point, I can only see two little heads at any one time. However, based on feeding patterns, there is a good chance we have three eyasses in the nest. We should be able to figure it out how many for sure by this weekend.
I finally got to see a young eyass this season. It was at Fifth Avenue. The glimpses were quick, but I did get to see a young hawk. In the next few weeks this should easily become two dozen. The video has the best view.
I went down to Washington Square Park hoping to see an eyass head or two pop up out of the nest, but it wasn't to be. They're still very young, and I didn't catch a feeding. (At the beginning of a feeding, a well rested young eyass might just reach high enough to see.)
Instead, I got to see Bobby bring a nice long strip of paper to the nest. It looked like it might have been wallboard tape. At one point, the female ends up with it on her head like it's a hat and another time it looks like a Möbius strip.
News came this afternoon from the President's Office that two of the three eggs had hatched. (They don't all hatch at the same time, so there isn't anything to worry about.) Other hawk watchers got to watch a feeding in the afternoon, and I got to capture a visit by the father and a feeding this evening.
More happy news after the hatching on Fifth Avenue. Spring finally is in full swing after a harsh winter in New York. I can't wait to see some fluffy heads next week!
When I was at the nest yesterday, Octavia seems to be high in the nest. This afternoon, Pale Male spent lots of time on the nest or nearby. Then this evening around 6:30 p.m., the hawk bench saw a feeding. It was brief, which would be normal for a newly hatched eyass, but it was clearly a feeding with Octavia ripping up meat, turning her head and gently giving the meat to the eyass. Together all of this means we had a hatch within the last day!
Nice to have the Fifth Avenue nest back on a regular schedule! Great News!
We should be able to see the eyasses next weekend. The feeding starts at about 8:00 on the video.
This afternoon, the male was on the oval widow of north tower at the Beresford Apartments, and the female was on the nest, which is on the oval window of the southeast tower. The ironwork of the north tower window is painted black, while the ironwork of the south tower is painted white, which makes it easy to figure out which tower is which in videos and photographs.
Not much happened while I watched. The male left the tower a few times and at one point two hawks buzzed the Beresford, most likely the Beresford male and another hawk. The other could easily could have been one of the males from the other nearby nests.
I'm looking forward to the 2015 Red-tailed Hawk nest hatches in Central and Morningside Parks. We have three confirmed nests in Central Park, a pair seen frequently in the NE section of the Central Park, and our Cathedral hawks have a new nest location exposed to the elements.
With any new season, I look forward to discovering new aspects of urban Red-tailed Hawk behavior.
Three Central Park nests is fantastic news this year. But one has to wonder about locations and why these three nests are so close together? Do these three Red-tailed hawk pairs benefit by having protected flanks from the other pairs? Does this outweigh any issues over food contention, etc.? Or did the new nest locations have nothing to do with the other nest locations? It will be interesting to see when other raptor species fly over the park, if the Red-tailed Hawks work together to escort them away. And which pair will tale over the Locust Grove.
The Beresford Apartment nest will have new fledglings who will have to cross Central Park West to end up in Central Park or maybe even Teddy Roosevelt Park. Which buildings will they perch on the first few weeks? The Museum of Natural History? Or like many Red-tails, will they try to get as high as possible the first week and end up back on the Beresford? Where will the parents take them to hunt? South to the calm lawn south of The Yard? Or up North?
How will the exposed nest do at the Cathedral of Saint John? Will it be as productive as St. Andrew had been?
And is there a forth pair nesting near the park? Almost all of the experienced hawk watchers in Central Park saw a pair of hawks all winter around the Conservatory Garden. In April, many of us have seen a single hawk in the park, who flies over to Madison Avenue between 100th to 106th. Is there a nest tucked away a block from the park or in the public housing east of Madison?
I'm looking forward to learning more about Red-tailed Hawks this season. How fantastic is it that one of the best places to study Red-tailed Hawks is in the middle of Big Apple! New York City truly is one hell of a town.
I thought I'd spend some time where it all began, Pale Male's nest on Fifth Avenue this afternoon. It was uneventful with Pale Male giving Octavia a break just before he went off to roost.
Octavia is an impatient hawk. She leaves the nest as soon as she sees Pale Male nearby. She doesn't wait for him land on the nest like other females in the city due. It's kind of funny, as though she's saying "I've been waiting, where have you been?"
I went down to Bryant Park to look at the Chuck Will's-widow at night to see if I could take pictures of it feeding. I did get to see it but it was only perching while I visited. At least it was awake!
A Chuck Will's-widow has been seen in Bryant Park for most of the week. This nocturnal insect eater is a rare visitor to Manhattan, so it has become a celebrity for the New York birder community to visit!
Tonight, I returned to The Beresford to view the exchanges between the pair. The female was sitting on the eggs when I arrived and after about forty minutes the male came to relieve her. She flew off towards the the Pinetum, which is north of the Great Lawn, and didn't return for about thirty minutes.
After she returned, the male then left, first flying towards the bathrooms near the Delacorte Theater, and then he flew off to roost, west of Triplets Bridge.
It's going to be a fun adventure learning more about this new pair.
I would recommend watching the video in full screen mode. Just click on the box in the lower right hand corner, and if needed click on the gear to select a larger resolution.