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On The Fence

After a few days of difficulty finding the 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling, she was found with her father near the 67th Street Playground, which is just off Central Park West.

The father, whose been giving hunting lessons.

Another shot of the father.

The 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling near the two Lawn Bowling greens.

Her attention was focused on something.  There is a gutter around the greens.  I wonder if there is a family of rodents there?




She made some small hops and moved up and down the fence.



Lincoln Karim and I were shooting from opposite sides, and both managed to get blurry pictures of each other.  (Although our pictures might make us look like we're close to the fledgling, we both kept a safe distance.  Our telephoto lenses flatten the depth of field.)



It's amazing the number of quiet fenced in areas the fledgling finds.  Here she is on the vacant bowling greens.

A bit blurry, but a nice shot to see her feather detail.

The father had stayed put, and the fledgling returned to be with him.  He showed her a Robin's nest.

Which she jumped on and after a bit followed her father south.

Now you know why Robins and Blue Jays are so bold in attacking Red-tails.

Pale Male

Despite an a full search of the Southwest corner of the park, the 888 Seventh Avenue hawks weren't found on Monday evening.  They've been seen flying towards Broadway in the mid-60's over the last few days.  I think there is a perch on one of the ABC Television buildings, that can't be seen from Central Park.

One my way out of the park around 8:00 p.m., Pale Male was spotted on a Metropolitan Museum of Art railing.  He was on the northern side of the building.




New Red-tail In Central Park?

There have been sightings of a new Red-tailed Hawk in Central Park over the last few weeks.  Locations for the bird include 95th Street and 86th Street along Fifth Avenue.  On Saturday, I photographed what I think is the same bird in the Locust Grove.

Could this be the 1st Year, that spend the winter in the North Woods or a new hawk?




Pale Male Behind The Met

Pale Male was in his favorite spots behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday evening.  He was on the look out for prey stopping in some of favorite hunting perches but didn't actually do any hunting while I was there.






Sandpipers Find The Lake Construction Mud Flat

The Park's Department has dammed a section of The Lake, to allow for construction in the North Lobe.  In doing so, they've created a large mud flat that Sandpipers are enjoying.  The fall migrations starts first for shorebirds, so we're seeing Sandpipers now.  On Sunday, Ben Cacace saw four Sandpiper species, Solitary, Spotted, Semipalmated and Least.

I photographed three species on Sunday, Solitary, Spotted and Least.











Dinner Duck In Central Park

What's a commercial bred of duck doing in Central Park?  For years there have been Pekin /Mallard duck hybrids up by the Pool, who always fool first year birders who try to find them in their guides.  But on Sunday, I saw a new pure bred farm duck in the fenced in area south of Turtle Pond.

Is this duck an escapee from a slaughter house or an Easter chick who grew too big for a household?





Late Afternoon Around The Ballfields

The 888 fledgling is being encouraged to do some hunting by her parents.  But she's not doing that great at hunting yet. It takes practice and she'll get the hang of it soon.

Here she is perched on the northern side of the ballfields.  I'm calling her a she because of the size of the band Bobby Horvath used to band her, a 7D.  This is the largest size used for Red-tails, so the odds are 99% that she's a she.  Her band number is 1207-98290. 

The more I learn about Bobby Horvath, the more I admire him.  Last Wednesday, he was involved with an Osprey rescue where with the help with a friend, two good samaritans and a ladder borrowed from a local fire house, he freed a young fledgling who had gotten caught in rope and fishing tackle that its parents had used to build the nest.  The bird dislocated its hip hanging upside down and thrashing to get free, so Bobby has been nursing it back to health.



She then moved to the southern edge of the ballfields.


She picked up what looked like leftovers and began to eat them.  She perched on a fence post near the playgrounds and attracted a crowd of about thirty.





Afterwords, she flew back one of her favorite trees near the Ballfield Café and tried to take a brief nap.

This Site At Risk

The New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting has proposed strict permit rules for photographers in the city.  The proposed changes are a new Chapter 9, amending Title 43 of the Rules of the City of New York.  Under the new rules, any group of two or more people using a hand held camera (still or video) for more than 30 minutes at a single location (Section 9-01 (b)(1)(ii)) or any group of five or more people using a single tripod for more than ten minutes (Section 9-01 (b)(1)(iii)) would have to obtain a permit and present proof of $1,000,000 of insurance.

These new regulations would severely limit my ability to photograph birds in NYC.  Since I generally photograph with other birders and use a tripod, I would be subject to the ten minute limit.  Given that the city wouldn't allow me to apply for a general yearly permit, but require me to apply for a permit for each location/time, if I didn't want to break the law, I would have to stop my nature photography in the city.

I encourage readers of this site to protest the proposed regulations by writing or emailing Julianne Cho, the Assistant Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. The contact info is:

Julianne Cho
Assistant Commissioner
Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
1697 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
[email protected]

The comment period is open until Friday August 3.  If you write an email, please copy Chris Dunn, [email protected] at the NY Affiliate of the ACLU office.  If you're a NYC resident, you might want to copy your City Council Member.

For more information, see the NYCLU website

This is the letter I wrote...

Julianne Cho
Assistant Commissioner
Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting
1697 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
[email protected]

Dear Julianne Cho,

I would like to comment on and strongly object to the proposed changed to the NYC Film Permit Rules, specifically sections Section 9-01 (b)(1)(ii) and Section 9-01 (b)(1)(iii) of the proposed Chapter 9 amendments to Title 43 of the Rules of the City of New York.

I study and photograph raptors in New York City, specializing in Red-tailed Hawks.  My blog, urbanhawks.blogs.com, attracts thousands of visitors a month, and indirectly supports tourism in NYC.  To practice my hobby, I must use an expensive, large Canon 500mm lens and a tripod.  To any police officer, I look like a professional photographer, even though I am an amateur.

When there is a rare bird sighting it is common for a group of four to ten birders to observe the bird.  These sightings happen anytime and anywhere in the city, although usually in a city park. If I joined a small group of bird watchers, I would only be able to photograph a bird for less than ten minutes under the proposed regulation changes.  I usually spend two to three hours just to get a few glimpses of some birds, so the ten minute limit is unacceptably small.

The regulations would not allow me to pre-apply for a yearly permit.  Due to the random nature of birding photography, the bird would be gone before a permit could be issued.  Since the regulations, do not allow an amateur photographer to register with the city to get a yearly permit, the regulations would effectively make birding photography for more than ten minutes illegal in the City of New York.

I also find the requirement that a photographer with a tripod need $1,000,00 in insurance to obtain a permit unnecessary.  My tripod is less dangerous than a baseball, bike or skateboard, all of which do not require insurance to be used in a city park.  Why the bias against photographers?  Can you provide any evidence to show that a still photographer with a tripod, is more dangerous than someone playing sports in public?

This season, I photographed eleven Red-tailed Hawk nests.  Would I have to apply for a permit for each location?  And in the case of a new nest discovery, would I have to wait 24-48 hours?

The new rulings, which I assume are to prevent paparazzi and film crews from disrupting city streets, are too broad and vague.   Your regulations should concentrate not on limiting photographer's rights but on protecting public welfare and regulating commercial activity.   Require commercial photographers to have insurance and set guidelines for not obstructing city streets or sidewalks.  But don't regulate photographers.

Nature photographers aren't a problem in New York City.  Be careful not to restrict us.  If the proposed regulations are adopted, I would support any litigation against them in the Federal Courts by the ACLU.

Please propose better regulations and save the city from endless litigation!

Thank you,

D. Bruce Yolton

Southwest Central Park

The Southwest corner of Central Park has gotten noisy.  The 888 Seventh Avenue parents are trying to wean the fledgling from feedings and are trying to get it to hunt on its own.  As a result, the fledgling spent over an hour begging for food Thursday evening. 

The father keeping watch over the fledgling, but ignoring the calls for food from the fledgling.

The fledgling flew to ten different perches and made a few hunting attempts.  Growing up can be hard work.






Peregrine Falcons At My Office

At lunch time, I got a call from my company's Chief Operating Officer.  Two Peregrine Falcons had joined our COO for lunch.  They were both on a 20th Floor window ledge of the Flatiron Building.  I only had my iPhone camera but the pictures came out fine.

There were two birds.  One bird was banded (a standard silver band on the right leg and green bands on the left) and the other bird wasn't.  Both looked to be juvenile birds.  It seemed strange that two juvenile birds wouldn't both be banded if they were together, so I'm a little puzzled.











Sunday with the Central Park Fledgling

I only had an hour to visit the park on Sunday.  But I did get to see the 888 Fledgling. 

She was in a tree right next to a dugout.  Hundreds of park visitors waliked right past her.

She has a band on her right foot.  Banding has been done for over one hundred years in the United States.  It's exciting that we finally have a banded fledgling in Manhattan.  If we could possibly band more of them, we might be able to figure out the habits of Red-tailed Hawks born in the city.  Do they end up in other urban areas?  Do they disperse for a season or two and then return after their "walkabout"?  It would be great to learn more about the habits of urban Red-tails. 

Although, the pure white feathers are fewer each day, there still is some pure white fluff.

A failed attempt at a squirrel.

Fun in a puddle.

She moved to a slightly safer spot.  (And I had to leave to see Harry Potter 5.)

Saturday with the Central Park Fledgling

Saturday with the Central Park fledgling was a quiet afternoon of a bird resting in the hot weather followed by some fun in the early evening.

The fledgling taking it easy for the afternoon watching baseball and softball games.  A real North American.

One of the parents on the CNN sign.

She stayed in two trees for about four hours.


I went up to see if I could find Pale Male and returned to find the fledgling who had a squirrel trapped under a rock.

The squirrel was able to out wait the fledgling, who flew away

She went south about a block...

... looked for the squirrel again...

and ended up in a tree in the middle of a playground.  She's the small speck, just to the left of Hampshire House.

The perch may have been in the middle of crowds of people but it was American Robin free.


After a bit, she made a trip west trying first for a squirrel

And then sat in a tree with a view of one of her parents on a Central Park West and 66th Street apartment building.

After awhile, she went after a flock of pigeons, and we lost her.

As I left the park, her parent was still watching over her.

On a high rooftop on Central Park West and 66th Street.

Charlotte and the Fledgling

I arrived around 7:30 to find American Robins and the 888 Seventh Avenue having a minor war.  Junior had taken a Robin nestling, and the adult Robins were going after him.  He moved north and south.  While others looked for the fledgling, I looked for Junior but found Charlotte instead.




The fledgling had been in a tree near the area rock climbers practice south of the ball fields.  The fledgling jumped on the rocks...

... found a puddle and took a few drinks.


The fledgling then settled into a tree for the night on the south edge of the ball fields.


888 Seventh Avenue Fledgling Growing Up

The girl who seemed so shy when she first entered the park is growing up.  Her range has increased, she's hunting and has lost the awkwardness she had when she first entered the park.

I caught up to her while she was engaged in stick play.

This helps her with her hunting skills.



She went after a squirrel but missed it.  She's flying 250-500 feet without problems.



She moved to a tree with a clear view of both the Essex House and CNN signs, at dusk.  I wonder if she wanted to be able to see her parents in the morning.

She did a lot of panting and kept her wings open a lot.  It was over 90 degrees.



Although I left before she went to sleep, what seemed to be her last perch was a very thin tree branch.  I wonder if she roosted here, on a branch too thin for raccoons?