I had a quiet afternoon with one of the adult Red-tailed Hawks in Washington Square Park this afternoon. The hawk spent at least an hour on top of 1 Fifth Avenue before coming down to hunt in the rain in the NW corner of the park. It caught a small rodent, and looked to be on the lookout for a second snack before going to roost. It started raining too hard for me to see how things turned out.
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.
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.
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.
The Washington Square Park Fledgling was having lots of fun this evening. I found it on top of 2 Fifth Avenue where it played in the wind realizing that if it put its wings out, it would have lift off. He then went down into the park chasing a group of pigeons and ending up on the Judson Church roof. That's a great deal of flying.
Later, he made some a few trips around the east side of the park, and even went over to the roofs of Washington Square North.
From the pictures, you can see his primary and secondary feathers that hadn't grown in when he fledged look good now. The only feathers with issues are two tail feathers. It's nice to see him looking less scruffy.
Despite having a few missing primary and secondary wing feathers, the Washington Square Park fledgling is actually a good flier. It made its way to a number of buildings around the park today, and did a great job of flying to high locations. It did much better than many new fledglings.
There were no hawks on the nest this evening, and reports are that none were seen today by anyone. So, we assume the single eyass has fledged. The parents were spending a lot of time above the Pless building, so the fledgling is most likely on its roof. A group of us are eager to see how it's coping with the few primary and secondary feathers that are missing. It would be nice to see a few normal flights.
Update: 6/15/16 The fledgling has been perched and flying well in the SW corner of the park today. Reports are nice flights, to perches high on buildings. So, the wings might not look perfect but they certainly work just fine.
The lone Washington Square Park eyass has yet to fledge. It has a few wing feather that haven't grown in properly, but looks a good deal better than it did a week ago. The eyasses always seem to take their time at this nest and I suspect this hawk will be no exception.
The little fluff ball we saw a month ago has grown up and is almost ready to leave the nest. It happens so fast! We should have lots of hawks leaving their nests in the next week around the city.
With the hot weather the lone eyass at Washington Square Park spent the early part of the evening lying down on the cool stone of the library. I could only see it by walking to 9th Street and University Place. Luckily, as things cooled off, the eyass became more active and could be photographed.
The only child at Washington Square Park is getting lots of TLC from its parents. These pictures are from Saturday.
This afternoon, I got to witness a very nice feeding of the single eyass at Washington Square Park. Both parents were very attentive of their single child.
I finally got to see the head of the eyass at Washington Square Park today. This was after both parents left the nest for over 45 minutes. Both of them were all over the park and the buildings to the east, south and west.
It's looking more and more like only one egg out of three hatched at Washington Square Park. I was at the nest this afternoon and through the twigs could see only one eyass eating (around the 2:30 mark on the video).
One of the lesser known issues with rodenticides is their effect on fertility in raptors. We might be witnessing this here. While the Parks Department has stopped using poisons in Washington Square Park, they are commonly used by NYU properties around the area.
The eyasses are still a little too small to see at Washington Square Park now, but the nest is still fun to watch. Both parents are more active and Bobby is bringing lots of food.
Thanks to a contact at NYU, news spread that the first of three eggs had hatched at Washington Square Park today. I went down after work to find fascinated parents, feeding the newly hatched bird, but mostly looking at the youngster. Great news on Earth Day.
While hawks are incubating eggs, visits to a nest can be dull or exciting. At Washington Square Park, it was exciting tonight with a nice rodent kill and some visits to the nest. News from NYU is that there are three eggs this year.
I got to see the female getting a break, and her return. Everything looks on target for a mid-April hatch. Two eggs have been confirmed by NYU staff.
At least one egg has been confirmed by NYU staff and the Washington Square female has begun sitting on the nest. Tonight, I caught a late exchange. So, one by one, the New York City nests are settling down to business.