At the base of the Astoria Queens side of the RFK Bridge is an established nest of Red-tailed Hawks. It's one of the easiest nests to watch in the city and this year has at least two eyasses.
On the Northeast light post of the soccer field north of Icahn Stadium is the 2013 Randalls Island Red-tailed Hawk nest. The female of the nest was sitting on the eggs. She sat low on the nest and when she settled in after getting in did the back and forth wiggle a brooding mother does.
So, I don't thing we've had a hatch yet out on Randalls Island.
I took a visit to Queens to check out a nest on the Triborough (RFK) Bridge. It's been on the bridge for some time, although one year the nest was on the opposite side of the bridge. Like so many nests in New York City, it had a parent die from poisoning.
Astoria is a nice quiet neighborhood full of friendly people. Sometimes I get burnt out answering scores of questions from hawk watchers in Manhattan, and Astoria makes a wonderfully relaxed trip. The nest is near the next to the last stop of the N train, which is a quick trip from where I live in Manhattan.
This year the nest has three eyasses, which seem to be about a month old.
I arrived at Riverside on Sunday after a thunderstorm to find a wet family of hawks. The father was on a street light drying off and the mother was feeding two eyasses.
The other known Red-tailed Hawk second clutches in the city, Inwood Hill and Astoria/RFK Bridge, both fledged over the last few days. A fledgling was seen in Inwood Hill by Jessica Ancker (via the Inwoodbirdwatchers Yahoo Group) and Peter Richter has pictures of the fledglings in Astoria on his Queens Raptors blog.
Before I went on vacation, I went by and saw the freshly hatched eyasses nesting on the Astoria side of the RFK Bridge. I finally got back to see how they were doing on Saturday. The two of them looked great.
They look healthy and very grown up. Their tails need to grow in before they'll be flying off, but they'll be leaving the nest soon.
I got my first glimpse of a RFK Bridge nest eyass this evening. From the feeding behavior of the mother, there are at least two eyasses. My guess is two, but it's too early to tell for sure. It's a strange season, when a new eyass is seen the same day as a fledge!
Earlier this spring, the Astoria female died due to poisoning while she was sitting on her nest. Within a few days, the male found a new mate and they laid a fresh set of eggs.
While we can't see the hatchlings yet, based on the behavior of the mother, it looks like they have hatched. We'll know how many there are in a few days.
The two surviving eyasses at the Unisphere in Corona Flushing Meadows Park are doing well. They look ready to fledge. For information about what happened earlier this season, see Peter Richer's Queens Raptor blog.
The three eyasses looked great on my Saturday visit to the nest. The nest is on a drain pipe on the Astoria, Queens side of the bridge. On my visit I didn't see the parents, but I also didn't stay long. It's not uncommon for a nest to be left unattended for long periods once the eyasses get close to fledging.
Earlier this week arrived news from Bobby Horvath, the rehabilitator on Long Island, that an eyass had fallen out of the Unisphere. The bird was taken to the Queens Zoo across the highway, checked out just fine, and ended up with in the Horvath's care.
The Unisphere nest has a history of having eyasses and fledglings in trouble. The Unisphere's metal construction makes it difficult for a bird to "branch" and there have been birds that fall out of the nest prematurely in previous years. The park itself is a problem for new fledglings, as it doesn't have very many quiet areas for the parents to lure them to.
The Hovarths continues to perform a great service for birds and wildlife in New York City. If you're a NYC Raptor lover, I can think of no better donation then to help their organization. If you’d like to make a monetary donation, checks can be made out to “Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation” and sent to:
202 N. Wyoming Avenue
North Massapequa, NY 11758
Since I hadn't been out to the nest since earlier in the season, I went out on Saturday to see how things had progressed at the nest.
When I arrived a parent was on the New York State Pavilion Towers and a visible eyass on the nest. About fifteen minutes later, I saw a wing tip briefly from an I-beam of the Unisphere, three sections over from the nest. So, the nest must have started three chicks, two still on the Unisphere and one now with the Horvaths.
Sunday Update: A second eyass fledged prematurely at the Unisphere and it is also now in the care of the Horvaths.
I made a quick trip out to the RFK Bridge and the Unisphere on Friday. The RFK female was feeding young, but they didn't pop up into sight, so I stuck out again in my attempt to get a glimpse at them.
The female at the Unisphere was sitting on the nest. It was impossible to tell if she was still sitting on eggs or had hatchlings. The nest is recessed into an I beam, which makes it a great hiding place for youngsters.
I'll be checking back up on these nests in a few weeks.
I spend early Sunday afternoon and late Monday evening looking for the eyasses (chicks) at the Astoria Park - RFK Bridge (formerly Triborough Bridge) nest without success. It's clear by the parents behavior, that they're no longer sitting on eggs, but have hatchlings, but I didn't see them. I must have missed the feeding each time I went, and if the eyasses are sleeping, they would be too low to see them.
In any event, I do have some nice pictures of the nest and the parents.
Red-tailed hawks are once again nesting on the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in Queens, New York. This year, they have abandoned the old nest located off the coast of Somalia (fear of pirates?) in the Indian Ocean and built a new nest directly south of Los Angeles, in the Pacific Ocean. The new nest, like the older ones, is on the equator.
The equator of the Unishere is a I-beam, and the female can be completely out of view if she wants to be. I was there at sunset, so the picture quality is poor. I'll be going back later in the season to see the eyasses.
I got an email on Saturday, that two hawks had been found dead at Astoria Park. Excellent follow up by the Urban Park Rangers in Queens discovered two dead chickens rather than hawks. Dead chickens have been a problem in the park this summer, most likely from Santería animal sacrifices. While I'm relieved that the hawks are in good health, I do feel some sadness about the chickens.
Here are pictures of the Astoria hawks. Two from last weekend and three from this Sunday.
I hadn't been able to make it out to Astoria for awhile, but made it out on Saturday. I was able to see both parents on Triborough Bridge. They were on opposite sides of the Queens tower of the suspension bridge, just below the roadway level.
I wasn't able to find the surviving juvenile hawk from this pair nicknamed, Buster by the neighborhood. The hawk from the Lower East Side that was released into the park and had to be returned to rehab after a case of Frounce has unfortunately died.
The surviving fledgling from the Lower East Side, was recently released in Astoria Park and nicknamed Hank. This hawk did not stay in the park. However, hawk sightings further south along the river closer to the Queensborough Bridge have locals wondering if this hawk might be Hank.
Astoria Park has two fledglings in the park. Both looked like they were doing well. One was enjoying a branch of a tree, while the other was on a high diving board when I was there.
The foot up or foot out poses are quite common for Red-tailed Hawks. They aren't a sign anything is wrong, they're just shifting their weight from one foot to another.
The Triborough bridge is in the background of the last photograph.
I got a message from Lincoln Karim that the Triborough Bridge pair was actually a trio, so I went out Saturday afternoon.
I got to see the eyasses and the mother. The mother had been sick and was restored to good health under the care of Bobby Horvath. You'll see she's banded.
Thanks to a text message from Lincoln Karim, I went out to the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows, Queens and was able to find the new Red-tailed Hawk nest location. It is about minus 30 degrees of longitude from the old nest. Instead of being near Indonesia, it is now in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.
I had received reports earlier in the season that the nest site was empty. The nest is in an I-beam, so it must be easy for the mother to hide while brooding and for the eyasses to hide when they are young.
There are at least two chicks in the nest. In the pictures that follow, the mother captures, eats and feeds a young pigeon to her eyasses. Readers beware.
The Astoria/Triborough Bridge nest has at least two chicks in its new location on the other side of the bridge. (Thanks, Jules Corkery for the update.) I didn't get great pictures this evening but wanted to share them never the less.
The Astoria female was very ill this fall and was nursed back to health under the care of Bobby Hovarth. With all of the bad news, it's important to remember that there are still lots of positive stories and successes in New York City.
Update 5/15/08: Also on the good news front Peregrine Falcons are doing well this season. 55 Water St. has a scrape with four nestlings which can be viewed on a webcam, and at least two birds have fledged on the Met Life building.
The second and the last eyas on the Astoria Park nest, left this morning and headed to a park north of the bridge. (Thanks to Jules Corkery for letting me know about the fledge.)
When I got there this evening it was still there with its mother watching over it.