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Hunting and Bedtime in Washington Square

The Washington Square Hawks, Bobby and Violet have been roosting on a hotel, nicknamed the Red Roost Inn by the blog, Roger Paw.

Today, I went down to the Square in hopes of seeing the hawks roost in this newly discovered location.  I went down around 3:30 and got to see Bobby eat a rodent before going to roost and join Violet.  The roost is a few iron bars that secure a restaurant vent pipe to the side of the hotel. The Washington Square hawk watchers suspect that it might provide warmth on a cold night.

(The last few pictures were long exposures taken when it was pitch black out.  One of the surprises low light photography has reveled in the last decade is how active many diurnal birds after dark.)










Lima on the American Museum of Natural History

Lima was on what has become a favorite perch, the globe on the southeast side of the American Museum of Natural History.  (Now that the leaves have fallen from most of the trees, the globe is now visible from the terrace of Belvedere Castle.)


Rat Control In Washington Square

I received an email yesterday about my comment for the need for rat control in Washington Square.  I was accused of advocating poisons, which would led to the death of the hawks in Washington Sq. This knee jerk reaction isn't helpful.

Washington Square now has a serious rat problem.  One that two hawks will never be able to solve on their own! 

This problem left to escalate will mean baiting stations will soon appear, if not in the park itself, in the front gardens of all of the buildings that face the park.

The late fall is a perfect time for the park to study the problem.  Using florescent markers, the park can study the rat populations and help formulate a plan of action.

The new park design has many features that are encouraging rats.  There are also lapses in basic sanitation.  Examples of these issues include:

  • Bushy plantings rather grass around food sources such as picnic tables, playgrounds and trash cans. 
  • Trash cans that are not rat proof.
  • Trash not being removed from trash cans before dusk. 
  • The public continues to feed birds and squirrels, which also ends up feeding the rats.

So rather than sticking our heads in the sand, we should encourage the Parks Department to work with the Department of Health to study the problem and develop an action plan to control the rat population of the park, while protecting the resident hawks.


Washington Square Hawks

Both Bobby and Violet were in the western side of Washington Square Park on Saturday. Bobby went to roost in a tree near the chess tables and was easy to photograph.

I stayed after sunset, and there was a large population of rats that came out around the chess tables. The new plantings and small open trash cans seem to be creating a perfect environment for the rodents.

I suspect a plan of attack against the rodents will be needed soon.  I hope the proper balance between rodent control and hawk safety can be found.





San Francisco

I'm on vacation in San Francisco.  My hotel is on Nob Hill.  In the mid-afternoon I saw some pigeons in flight out my window and wondered if there was a hawk nearby.  It turns out there were two Red-tailed Hawks, an adult and an immature bird.