The adult female of Washington Square was hunting in the park this afternoon. The park had lots of downed tree limbs and construction debris that came off of 2 Fifth Avenue. The park is still closed to the public, but park employees were working hard to clean up the mess. The area is still without power.
I went out before the parks got closed for Hurricane Sandy late Sunday afternoon to look for Pale Male and his family. I had no luck finding his fledglings, who have been seen by others over the last few days. But I was able to get good looks at Pale Male and his new mate (on the left in the pictures of the pair).
It was a confusing hawk watching day. The hawks were on both Central Park West and Fifth Avenue. But which hawks, was the confusing part. Were they adults, were they juveniles, were they Pale Male's offspring or migrants.
In the sky above Fifth Avenue, what I thought was Pale Male and his new mate, turned out to be Pale Male and a juvenile when I looked at the pictures at home. So, don't ask me who is who, just enjoy the images of wonderful hawks in Manhattan!
The first rule of owl watching, is don't talk about owl watching! So, I won't say much. It's just really early for a Long-eared Owl in the greater New York City area.
Many of the hawk watching regulars in Central Park, came to the park on Sunday hoping to see one or both of the newly returned fledglings hunting. While we found one of the fledglings, we didn't see any hunting. Maybe Monday!
Earlier this season, two of Pale Male's offspring were poisoned by eating poisoned rats. They were captured and send to WINORR on Long Island. Today, they were returned to Central Park. (I was unable to attend the release. See the Roger Paw blog for reporting of the release.)
Their mother and later in the season, their sibling, disappeared.
The mother was most likely killed by secondary poisoning.
The other sibling may have died as well. A young hawk was brought to the Wild Bird Fund about the time the youngster disappeared. It died the same day. Since the fall migration had already started, it wasn't clear if this was the same hawk, but there is a good change it was.
These deaths and poisonings, along with a cluster of deaths in the spring due to poisonings, made 2012 the worst season for secondary poisoning deaths due to rodenticides for Red-tailed Hawks in New York City that I can remember.
The video and pictures below are of the two returned hawks, a male and a female. It will be interesting to see how Pale Male responds to these two fledgling. It's very late in the year. Will he force them out of the park? Protect them? Ignore them? What about his new mate?
This will be fun to watch over the next few weeks.
Pale Male spent about two hours perched on the Belvedere Castle flagpole this afternoon in a light rain. I would say he might be patriotic, but he sliced on the flag.
After weeks of missing sight of Pale Male's new mate, I finally got to see her on Saturday.
The windy afternoon started with Pale Male perched on buildings on Fifth Avenue. He then went to his favorite tree on the Great Lawn to eat leftovers of a pigeon. Then he returned to Fifth Avenue, but then went to Turtle Pond with another hawk before going south.
It was all very confusing, but when I got home I discovered by looking at photographs that there was an Osprey in the sky with the two hawks. I suspect that all the activity was the two hawks escorting the Osprey out of the area.
The hawks, Pale Male and the new female, then went to the nest. I've seen similar behavior in the past, were after an intruder is escorted out of the territory, both hawks return to "home base".
The new female at first glance is very similar to Pale Male. However, looking closely she has a number of clear differences from Pale Male. She has a rounder head, a cream colored chest, a clear line across her neck, higher belly band, very weak subterminal tail band, etc. It's going to take time to learn how to tell them apart quickly in the field.
In the pictures, she's the hawk on the right when the two hawks are on the nest, and in the last pictures of the nest, that's her. Otherwise, you're looking at Pale Male.
In the fall, winter birds return to Central Park and drab adults or juveniles confuse birders used to watching brightly colored spring migrants. On Sunday, my winter bird was a cute Tufted Titmouse. My confusing birds were a flock of Cedar Waxings, which had only one adult among a number of drap juveniles who were sharing a tree with a number of Mourning Doves.