Fort Tryon
All Things Considered - NPR

Annus Horribilis

As this year's Manhattan Red-tailed Hawk nesting season comes to an end, it must be said this seems to be the worst year for Red-tails in the borough in recent memory.  It really was an "Annus Horribilis".

Here's the current status of Manhattan's known nesting pairs:

  • Houston Street - This nest ended up being "too urban", with each fledgling being picked up by animal control or the police. 

    The father was recently picked up as well after being found grounded.  He died this weekend from frounce, a disease picked up from eating infected pigeons.

    The first to be picked up has been returned to Astoria Park, and is in the "foster care" of the Triborough Bridge parents.  The parents have accepted the fledgling, but there is now a chance the bird has frounce.  It is being monitored by two dedicated Astoria hawk watchers, Jules and Peter. (Update: 7-4-08, the Houston fledgling does have frounce, which was detected on 7-2-08.  It took until 7-4-08 to find and capture the bird.)

    The two other fledglings are still with the rehabilitator Bobby Horvath and are being treated for frounce.  Their prognosis is good, but frounce can be a killer even with treatment.  (Update: 7-2-08, Sad news, one of these two fledgling has died from frounce.)
  • 888 Seventh Avenue - There was no sign of nesting this year.
  • Fifth Avenue - Despite repairs to their nest cradle, Pale Male and Lola did not produce any offspring this year.
  • 81st and Riverside - Three eyasses died due to secondary poisoning from eating poisoned rodents.  Necropsy results have not been finalized, but all three eyasses tested positive for two types of anti-coagulant rodenticide, brodifacoum and bromodiolone.
  • Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine -  The original adult male died earlier this year and was replaced with a new younger male.  There were two fledglings, one of which developed lead poisoning and has a lame foot, and is in rehab.
  • Shepard Hall, City College - There was no sign of nesting this year.  Red-tails sometimes build multiple nests, choosing one at the last minute.  However, despite repeated efforts to follow the parents, alternative sites were not discovered.
  • Highbridge Park -  Two eyasses died at about two weeks of age, reasons unknown.
  • Inwood Hill Park - Two or three eyasses depending on reporters. Two fledglings seen in the park.

So, it's been a horrible year.  We've had two adults die, and numerous eyasses and fledglings be poisoned, injured or infected.