I made two visits to Fifth Avenue today. Once in the morning, where things seemed to be like they had for the last few weeks with both hawks escorting out intruders and making brief visits to the nest. But when I visited this evening, things had changed. Octavia clearly had started brooding. She was sitting tight on the nest for the first time this season!
American Woodcocks have been migrating through New York City this past week. I caught up with one on Saturday in the Ramble of Central Park. It was doing it's best to stay hidden, which it did an excellent job of doing!
Hawk watchers at Fifth Avenue got to see many nest visits, watch Pale Male chase off a juvenile Red-tail and share food with Octavia over the last few days. We all are looking forward to the 2019 nesting season.
I didn't get much of a chance to watch Pale Male and Octavia that much this weekend. On Saturday, I caught both of them on the Carlyle Hotel. On Sunday, I found Pale Male in a tree by the Boathouse parking lot.
What I found strange this weekend was listening to multiple tour guides and folks claiming to be "locals" who seemed stuck in the 2004/2005 period. They gave lectures to tourists about Pale Male and Lola, talked about celebrities who haven't lived on Fifth Avenue for years, asked if the nest was "new" because they knew the old one had been taken down, and other nonsense.
The entire time frame of the nest being taken down, including the protests, and the installation of the nest cradle lasted only a few weeks. That was over fourteen years ago. Folks, it's time to put away your old copies of Marie Winn's books and Frederic Lilien's DVDs and catch up to the present! A lot has happened in fourteen years!
Not much has changed over the last few days with Pale Male and Octavia. The nest is being visited in the afternoons and both Octavia and Pale Male are spending time in the afternoon near the Met.
Nest visits by Pale Male and Octavia have been difficult to witness these last few days. These images are from the last few days. With the exception of two Peregrine Falcons, who harrased Pale Male one afternoon, it has been a quiet few days.
The hawk watchers on Fifth Avenue have been expecting to see Pale Male and Octavia begin to copulate as it's after Valentine's Day, but there have been no reports yet. I been seeing a nest visit around 2 p.m. and then various random sightings over the past week or so, which is what I saw today.
This afternoon was relatively quiet on Fifth Avenue. The pair flew together and chased off a Coopers Hawk and a Red-tailed Hawk. But there wasn't a late day visit to the nest. We did get to see some nice views of Octavia, who at first glance like Pale Male in the golden light of dusk.
I only got to see one visit to the nest by Octavia and then got to see Pale Male on a balcony a few blocks north of the nest building tonight. But it was nice to see both of them even though there wasn't much action.
While I haven't seen Pale Male and Octavia copulate this season, they've been spending time together, both have been working on the nest, and chasing out intruders into their territory. It's so nice for another year of hawk nesting to begin once again.
The week of Valentine's Day is the unofficial start of hawk watching season in New York City. Hawks who have been doing minor nest refurbishment since January, now start to copulate and getting ready for egg laying in mid to late late March. I gave a talk on Pale Male last year and thought it might be helpful to share some of the slides as a primer on what is going to happen over the next six months.
I encourage anyone who hasn't watched a Red-tailed Hawk nest to do so this year. It's incredibly enjoyable. The "hawk bench", were the best viewing is from, is just next to the Hans Christian Andersen statue on the west side of the Model Boat Pond. And if you aren't near the Fifth Avenue nest, there are many alternative nests to choose from in New York, as well as may other locations throughout the country.
Monday's hawk watching wasn't that successful. I only had a brief glimpse of Octavia, Pale Male's mate on the Carlyle Hotel in the afternoon.
I had a brief view of Octavia on the nest before she flew off at dusk. I'm looking forward to watching them for another year!
Pale Male and Octavia continue to work on the nest. Pale Male brought two twigs to the nest while I was watching early this afternoon.
Another good sign Pale Male and Octavia are getting ready for spring, was spotting them both sitting together on the The Carlyle Hotel. Pale Male joined Octavia on a floodlight, before moving over to the floodlight on the right. He then went to the "Linda" building which is a block south of the nest before heading north. Octavia continued to perch on the same floodlight.
The Fifth Avenue nest had both hawks in it late in the afternoon. Sadly you could see the shadows being cast by the buildings on Billionaires Row every so often. When I arrived both hawks were on the nest. Pale Male left leaving Octavia on the nest, and she left after about half an hour. Pale Male returned with a twig, stopping first on a nearby building. After about fifteen minutes he glided down to a tree just inside the park, before taking off. Although, we're having a warm streak, nest refurbishment is the surest sign I know that spring is right around the corner.
While it's still winter, Red-tailed Hawks across the region are starting to tidy up their nests and get ready for spring. Around Valentine's Day pairs of hawks will begin to copulate followed by brooding in mid to late March.
Today, I caught Pale Male and Octavia working on their Fifth Avenue nest. It always seems like each wants to undo what the other has done, but it always works out. Octavia left the nest first, followed by Pale Male about fifteen minutes later. I was able to catch up to Pale Male in one of his favorite roosting trees at dusk.
Pale Male is on the left and Octavia is on the right. Note his smaller size, lighter color and thinner head. Notice her rounder, wider head, darker color, and rounder eyes with a light lower eye ring.
I caught up with Pale Male while exiting the park on Saturday. He was on a Metropolitan Museum of Art security camera on the north side of the building. He only stayed perched long enough to get a few seconds of video.
I haven't been doing much hawk watching the last few weeks, but ran into Pale Male near the Three Bears statue south of the Met on Friday night. He loves to hunt there at dusk before going off to roost. I didn't see him catch anything, but he was paying close attention to the rodents coming out for the evening.
Today, I caught up with one of two Red-shouldered Hawks that's been in Central Park. This bird is in the same family, Buteo, as Red-tailed Hawks. We first saw the Red-shouldered Hawk at Turtle Pond. It then went just south of the Obelisk (a.k.a. Cleopatra's Needle). After about twenty minutes it then went to Cedar Hill before we lost it. In searching for it we found Pale Male, America's most famous Red-tailed Hawk. I've included him in the pictures so, you can compare these two species from the same family.