Our reluctant fledgling at Washington Square Park is getting more active, jumping around the three windows and being much more confident. It had two rats for meals today. At this rate it should be finally off the ledge on Monday or Tuesday.
The active fledgling was above the reluctant one on the roof of Pless for much of the afternoon, but eluded being photographed. Both parents kept an eye on the two youngsters and late in the day the mother flew frequently over Pless, as though to say to the reluctant one, it is time to go.
(Word comes from Fifth Avenue, that all three have fledged.)
Monday update: The fledgling left the Pless building almost a week after it arrived, going to the Silver Building and back to Pless. By the evening it was nowhere in sight, most likely enjoying a rooftop perch nearby.
At Washington Square we have a rare but not unusual event happening. A fledgling has decided it fledged too early and is staying put on a window ledge. This is seen by rehabilitators from time to time.
In this instance a number of rehabbers have been consulted and each agree that since:
The bird is healthy
The bird is being fed by its parents
and it's in a safe location (with NYU security guards looking after it)
that the best course of action is to let nature take its course. At some point the youngster will mature mentally and start flying.
Now, this rare but not unusual event is worrying the Washington Square and NYU community. Inexperienced viewers are worried that something is wrong with the bird. They've been calling 911, 311, Animal Control, the NYS DEC and every rehabber they can find. This is all well intentioned but not helpful.
So, when I'm at Washington Square I reassure everyone who talks to me that:
Multiple professionals have been contacted and all agree that the bird should stay where it is since it is a safe place and the bird is being fed by its parents.
The crying one hears is normal for any young Red-tailed Hawk fledgling. It is a call for food, but young birds often do this even after just being fed. In addition, the loud calling is a confirmation that the bird is healthy.
The bird most likely fledged too early and every day it waits the stronger and more mature it will be when it does decide to fly.
(I also learned Friday, that landing on Pless was not a crash landing as previously reported to me. It was a sloppy but gentle landing.)
Washington Square Park has one of its fledglings staying in basically the same place since it fledged. Except for moving from a fourth floor ledge to a third floor ledge it's stayed in the same place since around Monday at 10 am.
It's being fed by its parents and doesn't have any apparent injuries. Most likely it fledged too early or may have hit its head while fledging and needs some time to recover.
The other fledgling was having a meal on the Shimkin Building roof and both parents were keeping an eye on both fledglings.
The two fledglings at Washington Square can't be any different. One is very active and flying high up to the roofs of the Shimkin Hall and the Education Building. The other is staying put on a fourth floor window ledge of the Pless Building. Young hawks definitely show you their personalities after fledging.
The parents were in view, and both kept a close eye on both fledglings.
One eyass fledged sometime over the last day at Washington Square Park. I discovered it on the roof of the Bobst Library late this afternoon. It had fledged sometime in the last 24 hours, most likely Sunday morning. I received word that after I left the park, the fledgling ended up on the Pless building for the night.
It's sibling is still on the nest and was fed by the parents, who seem in no rush to have it leave. Update: The second fledgling left the nest sometime before 10 am on Monday morning. Both birds were seen safely on buildings to the east of the park. One on Silver and one on Pless.
As always, the Washington Square Eyasses seem in no rush to fledge. They look ready to go, but spend the afternoons laying about the nest. This year is no different. The real action this afternoon was watching a pigeon get eaten by one of the parents.
After a visit to Cape Cod for a family wedding and a busy work week, I finally got to hawk watch on Wednesday. The Washington Square hawks have really grown up, and look like they could fledge whenever they're ready. They looked fantastic taking short flights on the window ledge.
The two Washington Square Park eyasses were very quiet until a brief thunder shower. Then they briefly got active and exercised on the window ledge. But after about five minutes, it was back to resting! Oh, the life of an eyass.
The little ones at Washington Square Park, aren't so little anymore. I'm amazed at how fast they grow. They have some orange in there chests, are gaining a belly band, and have wing and tail feathers growing in.
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.
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 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!
Our third female is sitting on the nest in Washington Square. She was visible only a few times in the late afternoon and early evening. Her mate visited at dusk, but she didn't leave the nest. Other birds in the park included at least eight Palm Warblers and a Hermit Thrush.
I've been very busy at work, so I haven't had much of a chance to get out and hawk watch. Today, I got to see the Washington Square Park nest. As is the case with most brooding hawk nests, there wasn't much action while I was there. Just a brief check in by the male.
My first stop on Sunday was Washington Square Park, where the pair was copulating on 1 Fifth Avenue when I arrived in the park. With the high winds, they seemed to be in no mood to move, so I went off to Tompkins Square Park.
The Tompkins Square Park nest has moved to Avenue A between 3rd and 4th Street on the north side of the avenue on a top floor air conditioner. The hawks brought twigs to the nest while I was there.
It was above freezing and sunny out, so the part was full of people today. Although I missed photographing the events, I did see the hawks copulate twice. For me, it takes seeing the copulation to feel like a new couple has mated, so this was great.
I followed a hawk out to Sixth Avenue, and off in the distance at the old St. Vincent's Hospital site was a hawk on a crane. I couldn't figure out if it was a WSP hawk, or a hawk from another pair. When the Couch's Kingbird was around I kept seeing a pair of hawks. I wonder if we have a new pair trying to establish themselves in the northwest of the Village?
I got up early on a Saturday to visit Washington Square Park hoping for a Valentine's Day love fest, only to have a very, cold morning watching Bobby. His potential mate did arrive in the early afternoon, but only for a brief interval.
My team at the office is doing major upgrade to one of core I.T. systems, and I had to run into the office briefly to offer my support. While I was gone, I get a few texts that the two hawks were sitting together on One Fifth Avenue. Just my luck!
When I got back to the park, there was no sign of either hawk and it began to snow so I gave up for the day.
The pictures on a Spanish tile roof are of the new female. She has light coloring under her eyes, something distinct from Bobby's features. As time goes one, I'm sure we'll find more and more field marks to tell them apart.
This time of year, it's common to see one of the adults hunting at dusk, eat their bedtime snack and then go of to roost. Tonight this happened just as expected.
The rats come out just before dusk making hunting easy for the Red-tailed Hawk. Unfortunately, local squirrel lovers grossly overfeed the squirrels in this area and end up supporting a large rat colony.
The Washington Square Park hawks have been spending time building an alternate nest above the Angelica Theater at Mercer and Houston. At sunset, one of the hawks was on the balcony of above the new nest. (Hawks are known to build alternative nests and not use them, so I would suspect that come spring the activity will once again shift back to Washington Square Park.)
It took some time to find them, but I was able to see both Washington Square Adults this evening. I started in the courtyard of the Silver Towers buildings looking at the building on Mercer and Houston where the hawks had recently brought nesting materials. (Building an alternate nest is not unusual, and this pair has brought materials to other sites in the late summer and early fall.)
Without warning, Rosie appeared flying up Broadway from below Houston and I followed her to a building at 4th and Greene Street. Then I saw Bobby fly east on Washington Place. After a few minutes Rosie joined him and both were on top a roof shed at Mercer and Washington. At dusk they both flew north to roost, but I lost track of them.
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.