2017 Nest Update 5

Changes from the last report:

  • The 95th and Lexington nest has been abandoned
  • The J. Hood Wright Park nest has hatched according to observers
  • The Grant's Tomb has at least two eyasses
  • The Washington Square nest had an eyass die.  The current pair have had three nests.
    • In 2015 the nest produced 2 healthy fledglings
    • In 2016 there were two unhatched eggs and while one eyass fledged suscessfully, it had problems with late feather growth.
    • In 2017, there was one unhatched egg, one eyass that died in the first week and one hopefully healthy eyass.

The decline of the success rate for the Washington Square nest makes one question if there is a problem with the environment around the park.   We might be seeing the effects of low levels of rodenticides or some other agent.

Hawks 2017-5


Washington Square

I got to watch two feedings from the female, and also got to see Bobby visit the nest and a few perches in Washington Square this evening.

It looks like the last egg will not be hatching at Washington Square.  While this is better than last year, when two eggs didn't hatch and the only eyass had issues with feather growth, it brings into question the health of the environment around NYU.  While the park has removed rodenticides, they are still used by the University and other building owners around the park.  While many of us has focused on hawk deaths due to secondary rodenticides, fertility problems are also a major problem with these poisons.  I'm afraid we might be seeing this issue at Washington Square Park.

Update 4-26-17: The youngest eyass on the nest died within the last 48 hours.  Cause of death unknown.

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Brood Patch

It was a nice spring evening in Washington Square Park.  Bobby, the male was on the Education Building flagpole when I arrived.  He went to the nest to give the female a break.  She went to a spanish roof at the southwestern side of the park where she preened for about an hour.  Her brood patch was visible at times when she faced the wind.  While watching her, there was a photogenic Palm Warbler in the park grass.

The female hawk returned to the nest and Bobby then went to the Pless building and appeared to take a chest bath.  After about fifteen minutes he few west and we lost him somewhere around the Judson church.

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Quick Glimpses

Tonight I only had quick glimpses of the female.  Once when the male came to visit and later when the male delivered a rodent.  Watching brooding hawks is a bit slow.  I can't wait until the forth week of April when we'll have lots of young hawks to watch!

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Washington Square Park Excitement

I was on my way to visit CCNY uptown when I saw an email on my phone with a report of a grounded hawk in Washington Square Park.  So, I switched subway trains and headed for the park.  When I got there I found a hawk in a tree looking a bit stunned, but otherwise fine.  It didn't look like either of the nesting adults, so I was confused.  Then the resident male, Booby appeared on the Judson church cross and I could see the female on the Ustream camera feed, so I knew for sure this was an intruder.

Bobby hunted nearby, caught a small rodent and ate it, before going off to roost in a favorite spot.  Only after Bobby had left did the intruder leave the park, flying down LaGuardia Place.

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One Egg, More To Come

The Washington Square Park hawks have one egg in the nest with one or two more to come over the next few days.  The male gave the female several long breaks during the day.  At sunset, the male started hunting for rodents in the park.  He ended up catching a rat as it ran across a playground.  He then went to a few different location before calling to his mate in case she wanted the rodent.  When she didn't come he gave us the slip going towards the east.  It was fun to have the extra hour of daylight after work to watch them.

Update 3-14-17: The second egg was laid at 11:45 am on Tuesday.

Update 3-17-17: The third egg was laid on Friday afternoon.

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Washington Square Park Very Active

The first overnight of the Washington Square Park female turned out to be a premature stay on the nest as she skipped at least the next two nights.  While this is the first time I've seen a hawk spend a night on a nest and not return, I don't think it is a cause for concern.  Either Wednesday's Peregrine battle or large protest in the park could have caused the female to feel a need to occupy/protect the nest for the night.

This evening, both hawks were very active and were being a couple by sharing perches and food.  It looked like things were back to normal for late winter.  I suspect brooding will start within a week.

Update 3/11/17: The first egg was seen on the nest Saturday afternoon around 1 p.m.

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Washington Square Park Overnight

On International Women's Day, which had a noisy demonstration in Washington Square Park, the female spent her first overnight of the year on the nest.  The park was full of protesters when I arrived at the park tonight and I almost walked to Tompkins Square Park.  Luckily, I decided to stay and watched a Red-tailed Hawk chase a Peregrine Falcon from One Fifth Avenue and went out of sight.  Shortly thereafter the male was on the Judson Cross and the female was in the nest.  She was still on the nest when I left the park at 7 p.m.

A hawk can start spending the night on the nest way before eggs are laid.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes until we see the first egg.

Update 3/9/17: The female did not spend the night on the nest the next night.  This is unusual, but given the Peregrine Falcon's late appearance and the protesters in the park, she might have felt a need to protect the nest on Wednesday night.  The next week should be interesting.

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Washington Square Park Male On Nest

This morning there were reports of both the male and female Washington Square Park Red-tailed Hawks visiting the nest and at least one observation of copulation on 1 Fifth Avenue.  When I arrived, Bobby, the male, was the only hawk I saw.  He made two visits to the nest while I was there and added at stick to the nest.


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Web Camera Back At Washington Square

New York University has returned the camera to the Washington Square Park nest on the Bobst Library.  Thank you to those who lobbied for the camera to be returned, as well has the President's and Public Relations offices of NYU. The link on Ustream is here. 

The nest is very quiet now, but I'm looking forward to watching the feed in the spring.  The new cameras (a main one and a backup) are wonderful.

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Snack Time In The Rain

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.


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