Up at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine the three youngsters are in various states. One fledged a few days ago and is exploring the Cathedral with ease and was above the nest in a turret when I arrived. One had recently fledged and was in a tree across the street in Morningside Park. (Jeremy Seto's footage of the fledge is on Flickr.) And the third was still on the nest.
The parents came to visit the eyass still on the nest. The father delivered a rodent, and the mother visited for a few minutes, right afterwards. An American Kestrel gave one of the parents a hard time, while it perched on St. Luke Hospital's Plant building.
Tonight a few lucky hawk watchers got to see the third and last eyass on the nest, fledge from the St. John the Divine nest. I even recorded it! (On the video, it's at about 4 minutes.) The fledge happened late in the evening, around 7:30 p.m.
This is the second early evening fledge in recent years at St. John.
St. John the Divine has two fledglings. One most likely went off the nest late Sunday and one on Monday morning. When I was there one was on the southern side of the Cathedral and the other on a fence just north of One Morningside Drive near the guard station. Both looked great, although the one on the Cathedral looked a lot more confident than its sibling. The fledglings are in very safe locations away on the Cathedral campus, which is a quiet enclave.
The three angels at St. John the Divine are very close to using their wings to fly. I spent a delightful Friday afternoon watching them. Although at first only one was viable, quickly all three became active and in view. There was lots of flapping, hopping and jumping.
The next time I visit, I expect one of them may already have fledged!
It looks like there are two eyasses in the nest at St. John the Divine. Both seem to be fairly active, and it's now more likely than not to see at least one on a quick visit.
If you're looking for information about the nest, refer to my first blog post about the nest, Discovering the St. John the Divine Nest from 2006. The nest location and mother are the same as from that year. Unfortunately the original male died a few years ago, so we have a new male.
Update: Robert Schmunk reports on Wednesday, that it turns out there are three eyases on the nest. One is less developed than the other two, and thus harder to see.
Both Robert and James have had reports on their blogs about signs of the St. John the Divine nest hatching, earlier this week. Once I hear a report like this of a nest hatching, I have to travel to see what's up.
The nest is behind the shoulder's of St. Andrew and is very deep. Every year it seems to get deeper, too. This makes it hard to see the young eyasses. We can see the feeding, and we can see the slices (poops), but we can't see the young birds. On Saturday, I positively knew they had hatched but couldn't see them. Once they get bigger, we'll be able to see them and count how many there are. But not now...
The bare spot on the mother's chest is her brood patch. You almost never see it, but the wind was "just right".
I finally got a chance to visit St. John the Divine on Sunday. The St. John the Divine Red-tailed Hawk pair go into stealth mode when they nest. The nest allows either parent to completely hide on the nest and the the parent who is off the nest usually stays hidden before the eggs hatch.
I spent an hour and half at the nest and only got to see the parents for about a half minute during an exchange.
The evening at the Cathedral started with the adult male up on the eastern side of the building. He was in an area that protected him against the attacks of a pair of American Kestrels. Eventually, he took off towards Manhattan Avenue and 110th with an American Kestrel in tow.
I went on a walk through Morningside Park to find the fledgling expecting to find it in a tree. However, I took a look back at the Cathedral just in case from the ballfields, and much to my surprise, I saw the fledgling sitting on the nest!
It was eating. I guess the nest must be a safe place to eat with the two Kestrels being so aggressive. After eating the fledgling then made a number of stops, being harassed by either Kestrels, Robins or Jays the whole time. The stops included trees in Morningside Park, trees on Morningside Drive, the Cathedral School, and eventually somewhere in the Cathedral grounds.
The fledgling at St. John flew from a St. Luke's rooftop, over to the top of a large arch on the Cathedral. It then went to a high platform before landing on a few of the finials. It eventually landed inside a section of a fancy section of a finial. This seems to solve a mystery of a few nights ago, where the fledgling seemed to disappear into thin air.
With the fledgling being up so high on St. Luke's and St. John, I haven't been able to see the full family together since the fledgling left the nest. Today, all three were on the Cathedral near each other.
First we had the fledgling eating on a small flat roof, then it snoozed a little on top of a brick column. Later it was joined by the mother, who eat the leftovers, and eventually the father joined them.
The fledgling looks very healthy and active, which is great after the two unexplained deaths of its siblings on the nest.
Just as I arrived on Thursday evening, the fledgling and one of the parents left St. Luke's and headed back to the Cathedral. I couldn't relocate the parent, but the found the fledgling eating on a tower on the northeast side of the building.
After eating the fledgling made its way west to what appears to be its nighttime roost. When will this fledgling venture lower down and actually spend time in a tree?
The fledgling spend most of the early evening playing above the emergency room of St. Luke's Hospital on Tuesday. Unlike Monday, when it was out of sight most of the evening, on Tuesday it put on a great show. The best viewing angle was in front of the Cathedral steps on Amsterdam for most of the evening. The mother kept watch from a nearby railing.
As it did on Monday, it returned to the Cathedral at sunset. When it flies over, the fledgling aims for the dome at the center of the Cathedral, which is an easy target and them moves west.
Tonight, we couldn't find the fledgling at St. John until close to sunset. It has been on St. Luke's Hospital's clock tower, and flew across to the Cathedral. We've yet to hear the fledgling cry out, and since it is using the building tops to perch, we don't get the auditory clues we'd expect to get from robins, jays and mockingbirds. Keeping track of this fledgling is going to be a challenge.
A lot happened in Manhattan this past week:
Broadway Bridge Peregrines: Bonnie Talluto confirms the two eyasses are now fledglings.
Inwood Hill Park: Diane Schenker reports the nest has hatched. She can see at least one eyass, but can't get a good count yet.
Highbridge Park: Mitchell Nusbaum reports the nest has fledged.
St. John the Divine: The surviving nestling fledged on Friday.
Riverside Park: The pair is sitting on their second clutch.
55 Water Street Peregrines: They've all fledged.
Early in the afternoon, the fledgling was impossible to find. One of the parents attempted to grab a young sparrow off a nest in a Cathedral window, but then flew off.
After the weather front went through, I went back to the Cathedral to find the fledgling coming off of a high area of St. Luke's roof, towards the Cathedral. It misjudged the landing and returned to St. Luke's. It did this about an hour later, attempting to land on the nest, again it misjudged and returned to St. Luke's. Nature's given the fledgling great innate flying skills, but it seems that instinct doesn't cover landings and this needs to be learned.
This year, the fledgling is spending most of its time on St. Luke's Hospital rather than on St. John the Divine.
The current father arrived when the Cathedral roof construction was in full swing, so he naturally perched on St. Luke's rather than St. John. The father's favorite perch on St. Luke's also has a view of the large green at Columbia University, which had been home one winter to a young hawk. I think this switch in behavior by the father, is influencing the young fledgling to perch St. Luke's.
Below are pictures of the fledgling's first full day off the nest. A pair of Kestrel's have been harassing the parents on St. Luke's and are included in set of pictures.
I visited the St. John nest and saw a relaxed fledgling in the early afternoon. I missed all of the action that took place later in the evening. Late in the evening, the eyass fledged and went over to the St. Luke Hospital roof. (I missed all of the action that took place in the evening. I never thought an eyass would fledge at 7:43 p.m.!, so I went to Astoria!)
For details, see Robert's Bloomingdale Village Blog.
Here's a brief video of the surviving eyass, who appears healthy. Let's hope it survives and fledges sometime in the next ten days.
An eyass died over the last few days at St. John the Divine, and it looks like we have only a single surviving eyass. The remains of the second eyass are visible at the front of the nest. The parents will remove the eyass after a few days.
Some hawk watchers have suggested removing the eyass to have it tested. However, with two healthy parents and a difficult location, this seems to be impractical. There is the danger that the healthy eyass might prematurely fledge and be injured if the nest is approached. This is also the possibility that anyone who attempts to remove the dead eyass will be attacked by the parents. Either the rehabber or the parents could be injured if this happens! Furthermore, unless the cause of death was obviously frounce (a disease caught from pigeons), any test results would take too long to aid in the treatment of the surviving eyass.
So, the best course of action in this case, seems to be no action.