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?
Just before the snow started today, I was able to watch the new female. She was briefly on the nest and spent some time on a chimney on 3rd Street. The male was on the cross for about twenty minutes.
The video is rather long, but I wanted to let folks have a chance to study the new female's markings.
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.
The second fledgling of the Washington Square Park nest was returned to the park yesterday afternoon after its adventure in a NYU classroom and rehab. I found it this evening on University Place.
It started out on the window ledges of 19 University Place, wrapping around the building from University Place to Eight Street. It then flew to eastern wing of The Brevoort. It tried to land on a ninth floor windows ledge, but misjuded the width of the ledge. It tried to readjust but floated down to a second floor terrace.
After about five minutes it jumped up to the railing of the terrace. Eventually, it flew back down University Place and landed on scaffolding in front of the Weinstein Residence Hall. After about ten minutes, it went into a Gingko tree, where I suspect it roosted for the night.
In the middle of the night, a NYU Public Safety officer found a Washington Square Park fledgling in an NYU classroom. The proper folks were called, and Rob Mastrianni, an Urban Park Ranger with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation responded in the middle of the night. He captured the bird and at dawn released it into the park. It did not fly off, so it was transfered to WINORR on Long Island.
While there has been much frustration with NYU's decision not to install a camera this year, the NYU Public Safety staff has taken its role to protect the fledgings very seriously over the years. They deserve our thanks yet again.
Rob Mastrianni, who responsed in the middle of the night, also deserves our thanks. He loves raptors and will do almost anything in any neighborhood of the city to help out, on or off duty. Thanks Rob.
And of course the Horvath's deserve our thanks most of all. WINORR does wonders in New York City. Thanks Cathy and Bobby.
Over the next few days, while Cathy and Bobby get the fledgling a check-up, and give the fledgling some time to grow up and be a better flier so it can be returned to the park safely, we'll see the parents searching for their youngster. I know from past experience this can be difficult to watch.
When Ziggy fledged too early, off 888 7th Avenue a few years ago, there were outcries to have him returned quickly. But the Horvath's decision to wait a week to return the fledgling, ended up in the best possible outcome, a great family reunion and a fledgling that safely spent the summer in Central Park.
So, please try to avoid any monday morning quarterbacking, and let the Horvath's do their jobs.
(The Horvath's also have the male from the Cathedral of St. John in their care as well as a very sick eyass from the Bronx. I'm so thankful for what they do.)
Update 6/10: The fledgling was returned to the park and is doing fine.
Three nests had fledges today, Fifth Avenue, St. John the Divine and Washington Square. For Washington Square it was the second fledge.
This evening, I got to see the first and second Washington Square Park fledglings. The first fledgling had made it to the safety of the NYU Pless Hall roof. The second and newest fledgling was doing its best to hide in a small tree west of the Bocce Court.
Both fledglings looked healthy. (You know you've watching hawks to long when you study video for signs of Frounce.) The second fledgling seemed to be having some trouble getting to higher branches, but that's not too unusual for a hawk's first day off the nest.
The eyasses at Washington Square Park are almost ready to fledge. They're jump flapping and flying well on the ledge but seem to tucker out a bit too quickly to be leaving the nest just yet.
They've been hiding in the back corners, so don't be surprised if you don't see them when you visit. It's easy to think at least one has fledged sometimes!
The eyasses are starting to lose their white feathers. It's amazing how fast they grow. From a hatchling to a nearly full grown bird in 45 days. It was a quiet evening with the parents taking a long break on the cross. One of eyasses ventured a long way out on the window ledge. Other than that not much happened while I was observing.
In the morning, I visited Randall's Island nest. I couldn't see any sign of hawks, but if they've gone back to the old nest, the female can hide fairly well. There's also a good chance that the pair moved, given the Peregrine Falcon nest nearby.
I then went to Tompkins Square Park, which is still a few days from hatching. Both hawks there looked healthy. Locals estimate the hatch date to be May 10th.
Then it was off to Washington Square to see how things were going. As usual, they continue to grow bigger and bigger. They can stand briefly and feather shafts are visable on their wings.
The eyasses at Washington Square Park are getting easier and easier to see with each passing day. I caught up with them on a windy Friday. The video is very shaky but is fun none the less.
It looks like we're going to have a record number of successful nests in Manhattan this year, although it looks like after the cold winter we may have more nests with one or two eyasses rather than three. I can't wait for us to get an accurate count. I suspect we'll end up having at least fifty Red-tailed Hawks in Manhattan by the time the last nest hatches. Plus we have many more in the other boroughs.
Too bad folks still only think about Pale Male when you talk about Red-tailed Hawks in New York City!
When hawks are sitting on eggs, not much happens. If you're lucky you'll be watching when the female wants to take a brief break from her egg sitting duties. But only if you're lucky.
Tonight, I had no such luck at Washington Square Park! Bobby was on One Fifth Avenue briefly, and Rosie was on the nest. Her head is slightly visible to the left of black window frame and her tail feathers peak out on the right. She didn't even get up to stretch while I was at the park!
Based on the behavior of Rosie and Bobby tonight, we may have an egg in the Washington Square nest. Rosie was sitting on the nest when I arrived, took a slight break, returned to the nest and quickly left with some food.
Then Bobby copulated with her, as she was still eating and he relieved her on the nest, as she continued her meal. Then they switched places and he eat the leftovers.
Rosie continues to overnight on the nest, and the pair continues to copulate and work on the nest. However, we don't have Rosie sitting during the day yet. This means we're all set, but the eggs haven't arrived just yet.
So, the Washington Square hawk watcher are all keeping an eye out for behavior changes. It looks like this year Pale Male and Octavia uptown may have beaten Rosie and Bobbie for the first eggs!
It was a beautiful day in Washington Square Park on Saturday, with warmer weather and plenty of sunshine. The hawks made lots of nest visits, with the hawks bringing paper and twigs to tidy up. They copulated on the Silver Building. Both hawks soared and soared above the park as if to celibrate the warm day.