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Rosie Enjoys The Fences

It was a gray day to be in the park.  Very light rain on and off.

My afternoon started of nicely with the spotting of a Brown Creeper.  A nice little bird that I usually see in the winter in Central Park.  It was nice to add it to my Washington Square bird list.

Rosie was active mid-afternoon.  She was hunting pigeons and squirrels but it was hard to tell if she was just getting exercise or was really hungry.  She did lots of low hunting runs on the newly fenced off lawns which have just been reseeded.  It wasn't the patient hunting that is successful for Red-tailed Hawks, but youthful "go after anything that moves" type of hunting you see with juvenile birds.

After an exchange it was Bobby's turn to be active.  He caught a pigeon a top an NYU building south of the church cross.


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Brooding on Fifth Avenue

The 5th Avenue pair are definitely incubating at this point.  Tonight, Pale Male was on the nest when I arrived, and the female returned after about twenty minutes.  Pale Male returned before dusk and removed a rat before settling down to roost.  (It didn't appear that he eat the rat.)


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Dull Evening

Watching a brooding hawk can be like watching paint dry.  This evening was as dull as can be. 

I just missed a visit by Bobby and watched his fly out of view as I arrived, and got to watch an hour and a half Rosie sitting on the nest.


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Webcam Gets Adjusted

There wasn't much hawk action this evening.  Bobby was in the park briefly.

The major action took place on the other side of the window from the nest.  Representatives from The New York Times technical team and Livestream adjusted the camera. 

The night image is now fantastic.  Hopefully the day image will be equally good.  Well see how it is in the morning!

(Corrected 3/31/12.   I had originally reported that staff from Kintronics, Inc and Livestream adjusted the camera.  While Kinronics, Inc. gave advise remotely, the actual work was done by The New York Times technical team and Livestream staff.  Apologies to the Times employees, I originally left out.)


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Getting Ready

While it doesn't look like the new female at 5th Avenue has laid an egg quite yet, it sure looks like she's about too.  She spent the day on the nest and made some exchanges with Pale Male.


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Rosie and Leftovers

Rosie took her time while off the nest this evening.  I could not find her for the longest time, but then she eat leftovers on the Washington Square Arch and then the corner of an apartment building Bobby likes to catch pigeons on.

She returned to the nest and Bobby perched an a few buildings on the east side of the park before I needed to leave.


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Rosie, Bobby, Rosie, Bobby

It was a fun evening tonight.  Rosie was off the nest when I arrived and was hunting in the park.  She returned to the nest empty.  Bobby went off to a flagpole, and then disappeared.  He then arrived on the SE corner of Washington Square Arch with a pigeon.

Soon afterwards, Rosie left the nest and took the pigeon from Bobby.  He tended to the nest while Rosie ate.  When Rosie was done, she returned to the nest and Bobby ate the leftovers.

Bobby then went to roost in a tree in the park.


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Fifth Avenue

The Fifth Avenue pair looked like a couple getting ready for spring.  Like last year, they are  going to have a late start.

Today, they copulated twice while I watched them and Pale Male visited the nest twice.


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Quiet Evening

I must have missed all the exchanges between Rosie and Bobby that happened today.  I arrived around 5:15, and didn't see Rosie leave the nest.  I only saw Bobby check in after dark, before he went off to roost.


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Riverside Nest

I got to the new female hawk at Riverside.  She copulated with her mate while I was photographing.  While we've had a number of hawk deaths this season, her presence reminded me that the Red-tailed Hawk population of New York City continues to increase.


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Gray Evening

It was cold and gray in Washington Square tonight.  Bobby made a brief visit to the nest.  About thirty minutes later Rosie went to the cross to slice.  Bobby then flew into the nest to sit on the eggs.  Rosie than took an extended break and stayed off until it was pitch black, around 7:35.

When you think you know how everything should work, they throw you a curve!


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Tuesday Evening

It was fairly quiet in Washington Square when I arrived.  I should say, a calm hawk watching evening.  The park was full of people and musicians.

Bobby didn't visit the nest while I was in the park, but perched at far away both to the east and west.  He did get hassled by a falcon for a few minutes while perched near Broadway.

Viewers of the New York Times City Room Hawk Webcam, have confirmed there are two eggs in the nest.


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Monday Evening

With Daylight Saving Time, it's easier to have time after work to watch the nest.  Bobby made two brief visits while I was at Washington Square one around 5:15 and one just before he went to roost.

You can see the updated New York Times web camera in many of my shots from today.


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Rhythm

The Washington Square hawks seem to have their nesting rhythm down now.  Bobby checking in every few hours and seeing if Rosie needs a break.  I arrived late in the afternoon.  Rosie didn't leave the nest but Bobby came in to see if she wanted a break.  He then went off to hunt in the western area of the park.


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Inwood Hill Park

I took advantage of the warm weather to visit Inwood Hill Park at the northern tip of Manhattan.  Both Red-tailed Hawks visited the nest, but they don't appear to have started nesting just yet.  They copulated while I was there.

A Great Horned Owl was roosting near the Red-tailed Hawk nest.  It will be interesting to see how these birds manage to coexist.


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Lunch and Preening Breaks

When I arrived Rosie had already been relieved of her egg sitting duties by Bobby and had just finished lunch.  She returned and swapped with Bobby.  After about an hour and a half, Bobby returned to the nest and gave Rosie another break, this time so she could preen which she did on Two Fifth Avenue.  Then Rosie returned and Bobby left.  He then perched on a building on the west side of the park.


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Four Dead Hawks

Within the last few weeks there have been four dead Red-tailed Hawks found on the Upper West Side: three in Central Park, and one in Riverside Park.  The hawks were:

  • A juvenile that was in the North Woods of Central Park
  • Lima, Pale Male's mate of a year
  • An older hawk in the SE corner of Central Park
  • The female of the Boat Basin nest in Riverside Park

While necropsy results are still pending, the likelihood that rodenticides were the cause of death is an urban reality.

As hawks have made a comeback in New York City over the last twenty years, we're seeing the issues hawks face living in the Big Apple.

I know from personal experience that we have lots of allies in this effort, including the Parks Department, the Central Park Conservancy, the Department of Health, NYC Audubon, and others.  While we figure out how to turn our anger over these deaths into action, we need to be careful not to attack our allies. 

This is an incredibly complex issue.  A few hundreds raptors in New York City aren't going to limit the rat populations.  Controlling rat infestations utilizing methods that have the least potential for negative impact on wildlife is going to take years of incremental change.  We'll need the help of all our allies as we tackle long term issues, such as improving sanitation and reducing poison usage.

It isn't publicized enough, but behind the scenes, there are many people working to protect raptors in the city.  So, rather than attacking our friends over these deaths, we should approach the Riverside and Central Park staff, not with the question "Why did you kill our hawks?", but with the questions "How can I help you protect our hawks?  And what support do you need from me?"


My First Exchange of 2012

Tonight, I got to see my first exchange (pair swapping egg sitting duties) of the 2012 season at Washington Square.  It was great to see Bobby sitting on the eggs.

During Rosie's break, she few around the park, looked to be hunting and found what looked like leftovers.


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New Beginnings

NYU confirmed with a press release that there was an egg seen in the Washington Square nest on Tuesday.  Usually hawk watchers can only guess that the eggs were laid based on behavioral changes, so it was nice to have confirmation.

The hawks were together on the nest when I arrived, before I could get my gear set up, so no pictures.

Bobby disappeared after it got dark, but I found him at 6:30 p.m. on the nest making a brief visit.  He then flew off to his regular "hotel" roost at 6:35.  It was pitch black when he went to roost.

While I've been keeping track of the nest this week, the Roger Paw blog has been following Bobby in the park this week, generally at the same time I have.  I would recommend following both our blogs to get both perspectives on the Washington Square nest.  


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Washington Square

Rosie seemed glued to the nest this evening, much more than last night.  It's hard to know if egg laying has begun but there's a good chance it may have started.  We'll know more over the next few days.


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Still Looking Good

Rosie was on the nest from 5:00 to 6:00 tonight, and looked to be staying there all night.  Bobby made a few visits after 5:30 before going to roost.  I don't think eggs have been laid yet, but we should expect them shortly.


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Washington Square At Sunset

I walked down from my office to find a hawk on the west of the park and one on the nest.  Fairly quickly the hawk on the west joined the hawk on the nest.  After about a minute, a hawk left the nest.  I couldn't tell if it was exchange of hawks, or just a visit by Bobby before nightfall.


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All Systems Go

There is a moment when watching a nest early in the year when you feel everything is in order.  Copulation, Check, Overnighting on the Nest, Check, Staying on the Nest, Check.  Then, you just relax and just know eggs will be coming soon.

Today, I had that feeling in Washington Square.


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Rosie Overnights On Nest

I got to Washington Square very late, as I has spent most of the afternoon on Fifth Avenue.  Bobby and Rosie were on the cross and then while Rosie did some hunting, Bobby visited the nest.  After dusk, Rosie caught a rat and eat it while a crowd of about fifty watched.

As night fell, Rosie went to the nest to roost. Female hawks start roosting on the nest for awhile, then spend a few days on the nest during the day, and then lay eggs.  The overnight roost on the nest is a very good sign that eggs will be arriving soon.


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As Though Nothing Happened

Today, Pale Male and his new mate acted as though they had know each other for weeks rather less than a week.   After seeing how quickly she adjusted to the new surroundings, one wonders how many other nests have new partners without any one noticing.

There were nest visits, copulation and the kind of activity you would expect as spring approaches.

One doesn't have to have the necropsy results for Lima, to realize that we have a problem with jurisdiction over construction companies and vendors within city parks.  While most park managers have limited or eliminated rodenticides around hawk nests, there seems to be no oversight over construction companies and vendors in New York City parks.  Over the last few years we've seen issues with prophylactic placement of rodenticides at construction sites at both the Met and the Police Station, and with restaurants putting out poisons within city parks. There has got to be some way to require outside companies working on park property to get approval whenever they plan to put out rodenticides.


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