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Flight Training Continues

The eyasses will become fledglings any day now.  As we watch and wait for the big event(s), we get to watch eyasses that are now looking angelic after a "ugly duckling" stage, get ready for their big day(s).

On the video from this evening, you can see one of the eyasses jump at the window, around 6:40.  As you can see from a section of the video and some of the photographs, the hawk is trying to land on the edge of a picture frame on the other side of the glass.  For a species that is used to branching from tree branch to tree branch around a tree nest before fledgling, the lack of branches must be confusing and frustrating to an eyass being raised on a window ledge.


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Memorial Day in Washington Square Park

I spent about six hours in Washington Square Park on Monday.  The eyasses are close to fledging and it was a lot of fun to watch them and answer questions from passerbys.

Both parents visited the nest. While many folks look to the age and maturity of the fledglings to figure out the fledge date, we shouldn't forget the parents involvment in the process.  By placing food on nearby buildings and reducing feedings on the nest, the parents can help by encouraging the eyasses to fly for the first time.  

Now is the time to come to the park and watch the action in person!


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Exercise Continues

The Washington Square Park hawks could fledge any day now.  They look a little young still, with tails a bit too short and a little bit of head down, but we're close.

The eyasses were using the window ledge as a runway this evening and were very active.  I can't wait to see what the NYU buildings and then the park are like with three youngsters around!

(On the webcam you can see one of the hawks jump up at the window.  I believe the eyass thinks it can land on the top of a picture frame on the other side of the window pane.  You can see the top of the frame on the second photograph.)


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CCNY Shepard Hall

A quick ride on the A Train to 145th Street and a short walk through a wonderful area of restored Brownstones brings you to Shepard Hall on the uptown C.C.N.Y. campus.  This year there are two eyasses on the nest. 

This Gothic building yields another wonderful nest location in Manhattan.  For more detailed information and photographs of this nest, see The Origin of the Species blog.


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Fifth Avenue Rain Break

After a stormy afternoon, there was a break in the rain that allowed a quick trip to Fifth Avenue.  All three eyasses looked healthy and looked closer to fledgling.  They were eating scraps of food on their own, and one even tried to still the family meal from it's siblings when Pale Male delivered dinner.


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Riverside Park

The Riverside Park hawks have eyasses that are old enough that they can easily be seen now.  It makes it much easier to watch the nest.  Tonight there were a number of visits by both parents, and a Northern Mockingbird harassed both of them. 


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Rainy Afternoon

With light rain, the Fifth Avenue nest didn't have much excitement while I was there late in the afternoon.  But eventually, the eyasses became active and I got to see how much they had grown.


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Growing Up

We're at about the halfway point between hatching and fledgling at Washington Square.  It's an awkward stage between fluff and juvenile feathers.  But flapping has begun, as has ledge exploration, so it's a great time to watch them.


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RFK Bridge

At the base of the Astoria Queens side of the RFK Bridge is an established nest of Red-tailed Hawks.  It's one of the easiest nests to watch in the city and this year has at least two eyasses.


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Randalls Island

On the Northeast light post of the soccer field north of Icahn Stadium is the 2013 Randalls Island Red-tailed Hawk nest.  The female of the nest was sitting on the eggs.  She sat low on the nest and when she settled in after getting in did the back and forth wiggle a brooding mother does.

So, I don't thing we've had a hatch yet out on Randalls Island.


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West End Avenue

Last year, the location of the Riverside nest ended up being uncertain.  This year, it's clear where it is located, on the west side of a West End Avenue building on a top floor fire escape.  (The neighborhood is a little worried that someone will disturb the nest given it's location, so forgive me if I don't give complete directions.)

The male visited twice and an eyass was seen very briefly (after 6:40 on the video).  Neighborhood hawk watchers have seen two heads pop up.  The eyass count is just a guess at this point. We'll have to wait a few more weeks to have an accurate count.

These hawks are the pair that replaced the poisoned pair from the boat basin.


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Rats

Today while watching a feeding, a nice gentleman came up to me to watch and said "those hawks are why we have rats in Washington Square Park".  I was taken aback at first but realized it was a chance to educate him about rats in the park.

I told him that the rodent population issues in the park were more complicated than simply a ban on poisons.  It's too simplistic to say the rats are there because the use of poisons have been restricted.  I informed him that snare traps can be just as effective as poisons when used properly and managed. 

I went on to say that I thought the real cause of the rat problem in the park was the failure of the parks department to take preventative measures to control the rodent population.  The park simply encourages them due to:

  • Providing them large amounts of food.
    • Mass feeding of squirrels and pigeons needs to be prevented by updating park regulations.  Park patrons are feeding large quantities of food to squirrels and pigeons.  A few pieces of bread or the occasional nut have turned into huge bags of food being spread around the park, which end up feeding the rats as well as the targeted animals.
    • Inappropriate trash cans.  The new trash cans, while beautiful, are too small and are not rat proof.  At dusk you can watch the rats run in and out of the trash cans.  These need to be replaced.
    • Poor trash management.  Trash pickups should be timed not just to keep the cans empty, but to make sure they are empty before the rats become active for the evening.
  • Poor landscaping.  The new park design has tall grasses and other leafy plants in the shady areas of the park and along the fence borders.  These protect rat borrows and create a perfect home for the rodents.  The Central Park Conservancy had been evaluating ground cover and found that by carefully selecting the appropriate plants, rat borrowing can be discouraged.

It's important for the hawk watching community to prevent a backlash against the restrictions on poisons in the park.  We'll need to work with the new Washington Square Park Conservancy to educate them about the complexity of this issue. 

It will also mean a reduction of animal feeding in the park which would be very unpopular with the pigeon and squirrel constituencies.  This may be the hardest battle.

(...and before anyone says it.  A family of hawks will never control the rodent population of Greenwich Village.)


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Trio On Fifth

Three eyasses (young hawks) were viable in the Fifth Avenue nest today.  Nice to see a full house on Fifth Avenue.  Pale Male gave Ocatavia a brief break late in the afternoon.  I think the video and photographs say more than anything I could write...


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