Nothing much new is happening at the Riverside nest. It's a countdown to fledge day. The only thing that seems to be changing, beyond the continued grown of the eyasses, is the number of people watching the hawks. It seems to grow every day.
The fledge window calculated as June 9th - June 13th based on their hatch date, but I suspect from their development that the date is a few days later, say June 11th -15th. It will be interested to see what happens. The eyasses seem very healthy.
On Saturday, while collecting branches to line the nest with, the mother got harassed by some Blue Jays. No harm was done to either species, but I got some nice photographs.
The three eyasses looked great on my Saturday visit to the nest. The nest is on a drain pipe on the Astoria, Queens side of the bridge. On my visit I didn't see the parents, but I also didn't stay long. It's not uncommon for a nest to be left unattended for long periods once the eyasses get close to fledging.
Earlier this week arrived news from Bobby Horvath, the rehabilitator on Long Island, that an eyass had fallen out of the Unisphere. The bird was taken to the Queens Zoo across the highway, checked out just fine, and ended up with in the Horvath's care.
The Unisphere nest has a history of having eyasses and fledglings in trouble. The Unisphere's metal construction makes it difficult for a bird to "branch" and there have been birds that fall out of the nest prematurely in previous years. The park itself is a problem for new fledglings, as it doesn't have very many quiet areas for the parents to lure them to.
The Hovarths continues to perform a great service for birds and wildlife in New York City. If you're a NYC Raptor lover, I can think of no better donation then to help their organization. If you’d like to make a monetary donation, checks can be made out to “Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation” and sent to:
202 N. Wyoming Avenue
North Massapequa, NY 11758
Since I hadn't been out to the nest since earlier in the season, I went out on Saturday to see how things had progressed at the nest.
When I arrived a parent was on the New York State Pavilion Towers and a visible eyass on the nest. About fifteen minutes later, I saw a wing tip briefly from an I-beam of the Unisphere, three sections over from the nest. So, the nest must have started three chicks, two still on the Unisphere and one now with the Horvaths.
Sunday Update: A second eyass fledged prematurely at the Unisphere and it is also now in the care of the Horvaths.
These hawks are growing up fast and should be leaving the nest in the next week. Tonight, I arrived after the eyasses had eaten and they slept for most of the early evening. But they did spend 15 minutes energetically flapping and jumping around the nest.
I learned that the female Red-tailed Hawk went after another off-leash, squirrel chasing, dog this week. I'm not sure if she is claiming the squirrels as her prey or warning the dogs not to hunt in the area so as to protect her future fledglings. In any case, she ignores humans and dogs on leash, so for the safety of both the dogs and the hawks, it really would be helpful if dogs were kept on leash in the area north of the Boat Basin and west of the Highway for the next few weeks.
The Riverside Park nest had lots of activity this evening. All three eyasses were active, the father made two food deliveries, the mother helped tear up a squirrel and the sun came out after a brief shower.
The wing feathers are growing in fast. Incredibly fast. They are looking different from day to day.
Tonight was quiet at the Riverside Park nest, except for a brief period where both the adult female hawk and an off-leash dog went after the same squirrel. The hawk was not very happy and kept an eye on the dog from a branch above the dog. While returning to the nest for the evening, the mother swooped down near the dog to give him a message to stay away.
If my past observations of birds are correct, birds seem to "clean up the neighborhood" in the week before fledging. Two years ago, in Green-Wood Cemetery, the Red-tailed Hawk father got rid of four aggressive Northern Mockingbirds before the kids fledged. Similar behavior happened with the Eastern-Screech Owls in the North Woods of Central Park, who attacked neighboring raccoons just before their owlets fledged.
Hawks and dogs rarely interact, but it would be helpful if dog owners kept their dogs on leash while visiting the boat basin for the next month. There is not reason to tempt fate. Plus, there are two great dog runs just to the north and south of the Boat Basin were dogs can be off leash all day.