The eyasses continue to grow and now are popping up their heads rather regularly. It makes watching them a lot easier. This weekend should be a great time to visit the nest with warm weather and milder winds.
I got a glimpse of all three eyasses today. Two were in view and one head popped over to grab a bite to eat. So, we have a family of five now.
The mother was very protective of all three eyasses on a cool windy evening. She made sure they all stayed put as the nest swung from side to side.
2010 should be a fun hawk watching season, with Riverside and St. John's in full swing in Manhattan.
Watching the St. John the Divine nest can be frustrating this time of year. We know the eyasses have hatched but they are too small to see.
While the feedings are the true sign the kids are there, I always know because the mother never white washes St. Andrew but the kids do!
With the Riverside nest hatched, the new question is how many eyasses are there? I was hoping for three, but haven't seen more than two. With just glimpses of heads at feedings, the jury is still out.
All of the signs from yesterday's visit turned out to be good clues. Today, I visited the nest around 5:45 and saw feedings at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The eyasses are very hard to see now, but should be more apparent by the weekend.
Based on feeding behavior, there are at least two eyasses. Again, we should know more in a few days if it is two or three.
This is the third nest that is known to have hatched in Manhattan this season. Highbridge Park and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine nests have already hatched.
The CCNY nest finally seems to be active this year. We'll see what happens there soon.
Two other Manhattan nests, the Inwood Hill nest and the One Fifth Avenue nest both seem to be having problems. The Inwood Hill nest was partially destroyed in a storm earlier this spring. The parents have rebuilt it, but I haven't heard news about them double clutching. The Washington Square pair seems to be having troubles establishing their nest on One Fifth Avenue. High winds were blowing off the twigs they would bring to the nest. I haven't heard current news about their attempts for a few weeks.
The Riverside Nest finally had some changes in nesting behavior today. It wasn't the sure sign of a hatch, you would have by the sighting of an eyass or the motions of a first feeding, but there were positive signs. The mother left the nest unattended twice for about a minute each, and both parents spent time looking into the nest together.
We should know what's happening for sure by the end of the week.
A visit today to Highbridge Park, found their nest to be active with two or three eyasses (baby hawks). Both parents were both engaged in keeping the eyasses warm and feeding them. This pair consistently has eyasses in mid-April, and they continue the tradition this year.
At the end of the video, note that the mother comes back with a wet set of chest feathers. (For those who might not believe this is Manhattan, in the video, you can see one of the Circle Line boats pass by!)
While searching for a possible Red-tailed Hawk nest, I saw this American Kestrel at 133rd and Broadway. It was a fun find, because I was able to I.D. it without binoculars based on its tail pump and silhouette. As you have more experience as a birder, lots of little clues just start to click in automatically.
Now if I could only understand shorebirds...
Manhattan's hawk watchers are running all around the island hoping to see the first eyasses of spring. Although there are hopeful signs at the Cathedral, none have been sighted yet. I visited the Riverside, Cathedral and Fifth Avenue nests on Saturday.
The first day the Riverside female started sitting on this year's nest was March 8th. This doesn't mean she laid eggs that day, but it's the day we can start counting forward. Red-tailed Hawk egg incubation takes between 25-32 days. Add to that the time it takes to lay eggs and the few days it takes for a hatchling to strong enough to stand up and be spotted, and you might need to add as much as a week more.
So, that puts the nest watch into high gear if my math is correct. We might see eyasses by next weekend.
The weather wasn't kind over the last month, and the large storm that flooded much of Rhode Island may mean the area will have lots of hawk nest failures. Let's keep our fingers crossed. The Riverside nest is the most exposed nest we have in Manhattan.
This year the hawks nesting in upper Highbridge Park have moved their nest lower and a few blocks north. If you're a good hill climber, you can get a decent look into the nest. This area seems to be a great spot for Red-tailed Hawks even though it is surrounded by highways and apartment buildings.
The female stayed on the nest the entire time I was up at the nest. Any pictures of a hawk off the nest are of the male.
The Urban Park Rangers are excited about an event this Saturday and asked me to help promote it. It sounds like a lot of fun with lots of great activities for both adults and kids. It looks like the weather is going to be great too with a sunny day and a high of 62 degrees.
Fort Tryon Park, Cloister Lawn
Saturday, April 10, 2010
11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Getting to the park is easy. Take the A train to 190th Street and exit the station by elevator. Walk north along Margaret Corbin Drive for approximately ten minutes or transfer to the M4 bus and ride north one stop.
Get up close and personal with NYC’s wild residents. Learn about squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, eagles and more. Enjoy musical performances, live animals, and kid’s activities. Also, mounted park enforcement patrol will be there with their horses. Discover the best places in NYC and NYS to watch wildlife. With the Fort Tryon Park Trust. Ethnic food will be available for purchase.
The Pond has been host to a male Wood Duck this winter, who must believe he's a Mallard, since he's claimed a female Mallard as his mate. (Children's story anyone?)
Cross breeding between Mallards and other ducks, while not common does occur more often than you might expect. The 10,000 Birds blog has a nice piece on the subject in 2007. We'll see later this spring if this strange pairing leads to hybrids.