The Legend of Pale Male, Frederic Lilien's wonderful follow up to his PBS Nature episode, will be released on streaming platforms on September 1st for the first time. For more detail, go to www.thelegendofpalemale.net
As is the usual pattern for the Fifth Avenue Fledglings this time of year, they have roamed north to the areas around the Great Lawn. Today, one of the fledglings ran me all around from the Hamilton Statue, to the East Pinetum, to the Great Lawn, the two ball fields above the Great Lawn, the West Pinetum including a picnic table, across the 86th Street Transverse to the Bridle Path south of the Reservoir, Seneca Village, and finally the Locust Grove where it caught and ate a pigeon. What a great day!
One of Pale Male and Octavia's offspring was enjoying itself south of the Met yesterday afternoon. It didn't do much but relax on a single tree branch for over an hour.
This was far different from the behavior I witnessed (without a camera) earlier in the week. A fledgling raided an American Robin nest, eating each of young Robins. Like father, like fledgling.
The Fifth Avenue fledglings are at that wonderful, playful stage, where they're learning to hunt. This means "playing" on the ground and practicing diving runs. The activity has centered on the south side of the Met, west of the Group of Bears statue.
There comes a point at each nest site, each year, when you realize the fledglings will be fine. They still have lots of youngster in them, but you see that they can fly without problems, are learning to hunt, and are preparing to be on their own some day. For me, today was that day on Fifth Avenue.
At least one of the Fifth Avenue fledglings is learning to hunt. I witnessed a number of attempts today around 79th Street. Pale Male was nearby and one of the fledgling made a trip halfway to Madison Avenue on 78th Street too. I forgot how fast they grew up!
The two fledglings were easy to find this evening. One was calling from a roof at 78th and Fifth Avenue and one was near the Three Bears playground. Both parents were seen too. It's nice that everything is going to plan at this nest.
The Fifth Avenue fledglings are beginning to explore the ground. Today one of the fledglings went to the ground twice, once on Cedar Hill and once on the south side of the Met. Soon they'll be playing with sticks and learning how to hunt. It should be a fun summer.
Update: I've learned that after I left the fledgling caught a mouse. May it catch many more!
This afternoon was great because I got to watch everyone in the Fifth Avenue family, Pale Male, Octavia and the two fledglings one at 73rd and Fifth, and one further north. The second fledgling was on Cedar Hill and then went down to the Three Bears playground.
Today, I spent a relaxed afternoon with one of the two fledglings at Fifth Avenue. I had brief glimpses of both parents, but for the most park I watched a single fledgling as it made its way slowly south from the Kerbs Boathouse to a Cedar Tree just north of 72nd Street.
Over the last few days, I've only seen one fledgling at Fifth Avenue. Today, both were found within 25 feet of their mother on separate buildings. One was on the west face of a building on the southeast corner of 73rd and Fifth and the other on the south face of a building on the northeast corner of the same intersection. At times they would cry in unison. They didn't do much while I was there. But they both looked safe and sound. Octavia tried to get them to come down to a tree she likes to use for feedings but they both stayed up on their high perches.
The second hawk left the nest at Fifth Avenue today. When I visited both parents and a fledgling were on a building at 73rd and Fifth Avenue. Both parents made a few flights, but didn't give us a clue as to where the second hawk was hiding.
Pale Male and Octavia had their first fledge today. They fledgling made a long flight over the Model Boat Pond to a tree by the Hans Christian Andersen statue. It must have remained there for at least two hours. It then flew towards the nest and landed in a tree before going to a balcony on a building three doors down from the nest. It tried to go to the south face of the nest building but got confused. It thought the middle bar separating two window panes was a perch. It floated down five floors before flying out over Fifth Avenue. It tried to perch up high but missed and ended up landing flat with its wings open on a low branch above the sidewalk on park side of Fifth Avenue. After a short rest it recovered its barrings and explored a number of low branches. It ended up roosting on Fifth Avenue for the night.
The eyasses stayed put today, even with the Puerto Rican Day Parade. They do look ready to go however. Pale Male delivered food this evening and Octavia got into a food fight with one of the fledglings. Youngsters!
Hawk watchers at Fifth Avenue joke that their hawks fledge around the Puerto Rican Parade. It's a good marker and the parade is this Sunday. We'll see what happens.
It was a foggy afternoon at the Model Boat Pond. When I arrived the eyasses were sleeping with Octavia, their mother, two buildings down on Fifth Avenue. Soon, Pale Male arrived with food and brought it to the nest. One eyass ate the new prey and the other ate leftovers.
One tried to eat too big a piece. The first time I saw this I worried that the eyass would choke, but it seems to be a common behavior as they learn to tear food and eat on their own. I've now seen it dozens of time, and nothing ever goes wrong!
At the end of the afternoon, there was some "jump-flapping". But the eyasses were very mellow, which makes sense given the weather.
I was a nice afternoon, so I spent a few relaxing hours at the "hawk bench". The eyasses got fed, Octavia also provided shade and Pale Male made a brief visit. We're only a few weeks from the hawks fledging, so I'm enjoying being able to watch these youngsters while they're in one place for awhile!
Another great day watching the 5th Avenue nest. The next ten days are peak nest watching days. Make a visit if you can!
The two eyasses on Fifth Avenue got fed mid-afternoon. One of them was taking bites that were a little too big resulting in a bit of a tug-of-war. It was fun to watch.
After lots of rain, I was finally able to go hawk watching today. I spent time at Pale Male and Octavia's nest on Fifth Avenue. Octavia was with the two eyasses, and Pale Male was on the Carlyle. The bird attacking Pale Male is a Northern Mockingbird.
I visited the Model Boat Pond at dusk to listen for bats, and was able to detect two species, Big Brown Bat and Silver-haired Bat. But before it got dark, I saw Octavia return to the nest and got brief glimpses of the two eyasses.
The Fifth Avenue nest's eyasses are still a bit too small to see clearly. It may well turn out that there are only two. This evening's meal was gray squirrel.
Update 5/10/18: It looks like we have only two eyasses this year.
Pale Male and Octavia's nest was very active this afternoon. Two eyasses (nestlings) were visible at one point. A feeding lasted a very, very long time, so there is a chance we have an unseen younger eyass that remains too small to be seen.
I've uploaded two videos, a short one that lets you see the two eyasses if you look closely, and a standard lengthy one.
Reports from the hawk bench are there at least two eyasses this year. They saw the oldest briefly in the afternoon, while another eyass was being fed. I hope to be able to capture "baby pictures" this weekend.
When the eggs hatch, which takes place one egg at a time, it takes about a week more to see the eyasses on the Fifth Avenue nest. The only clue that they've hatched are feedings and changes in behavior of both Pale Male and Octavia.
Today, an hour and a half apart, it appeared that Octavia was feeding an eyass. I'll let you judge the video for yourself, but it looks like we may have good news.
I arrived at the Fifth Avenue nest to the sounds of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Pale Male was just leaving the nest. At first I thought it was empty but then I saw Octavia's tail in the wind. It looks like she's either getting ready to or has already laid an egg. Pale Male made another visit to the nest before perching on the Carlyle Hotel.
Hints of spring are in the air. The park has some Snowdrops and Forsythia in bloom and the city's Red-tails have begun to copulate. Today, I caught up with a Cooper's Hawk, and both of the Fifth Avenue Hawks, Octavia and Pale Male.
I started my raptor watching in the North Woods and then worked my way around the reservoir. My first raptor was a Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk at the Wildflower meadow, who then flew around the Compost Heap. Then it was off to the reservoir, where a Peregrine Falcon has been seen for the last few days near the North Gate House. Then after looking at the nice selection of waterfowl using the open areas of reservoir, I ran into two adult hawks at the South Gate House. By then it was too dark to I.D. the hawks, but it looked like one of them was an intruder and the other was either Pale Male or Octavia.
Both Pale Male and Octavia are doing just fine in the cold. Both have been spotted numerous times over the long weekend. I got a few pictures of Pale Male on Saturday. Today, the hawk of my visit was a young hawk in the area of the Ramble called The Oven. This bird didn't get any not respect from numerous Squirrels and Blue Jays.
Pale Male and Octavia spent the late afternoon around Cedar Hill and the playground at 77th Street and Fifth Avenue. Pale Male was hunting halfheartedly and Octavia was keeping an eye on Pale Male. Both chased a Sharp-shinned Hawk at dusk. It was nice to get good looks at both of them, especially the shy Octavia.
Central Park was beautiful this afternoon. The snow covered trees and lawns but there wasn't enough snow to block any of the roads or paths. When I arrived a Red-tailed Hawk was chasing a small Accipiter, which I struggled to decide whether it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk or Cooper's Hawk. Later in the afternoon, Pale Male was in a tree near the 79th Street transverse.
This afternoon both of the Fifth Avenue hawks were enjoying the sunshine on a crisp fall day. It was great to see Octavia and Pale Male together.
When I found Pale Male this afternoon, he was sharing a perch with his mate Octavia. She quickly left and he stayed in the same general area for a few more hours. He looked to be interested in a late afternoon snack but only made one hunting attempt which came up empty. He left the area and looks to have switched to a roosting spot he uses in the late fall and winter. Other than this it was very much like it has been for the last month or so.
I can't believe it's October already. Pale Male was in the Ramble this afternoon. He looked to be hunting but didn't go after anything.
We finally are starting to get some fall temperatures and tree leaves are changing colors. Pale Male has become harder to find, but he went to Cedar Hill late in the afternoon, after chasing away a migrating raptor. He hunted two times, but came up empty on both passes.
On Saturday, after weeks of easy hawk watching, it was harder. Octavia and Pale Male spent time on the Carlyle Hotel but otherwise were hide to find until dusk. Pale Male left the hotel and went to a favorite tree on Castle Walk, before roosting near Glen Span Arch.
After dark I listened for bats. I had listened for bats twice earlier in the week. As I had those last few nights, I had plenty of Eastern Red Bats at the Model Boat Pond, but I only heard Eastern Red Bats. On a hunch, I decided to walk to the lawn between the Summer Stage and Fifth Avenue. There I heard a large number of Big Brown Bats, and a Silver-haired Bat.
For another week in a row, Pale Male hunted along 79th Street. This afternoon he caught two rodents. Here are some pictures of him eating and relaxing.
Pale Male has become such a regular it's almost boring to watch him this last month. He continues his regular afternoon visits to the trees around 79th Street.
Pale Male continues to hunt in the same location as he has late in the day for two weeks or more. In late August this isn't unusual, but usually he is hunting a bit further north. I guess this current location has the best rodents this year.
Pale Male continues to hang around the 79th Street Transverse, west of the East Drive for the second week. This afternoon he caught and consumed two rodents. Enjoy the photos.
Pale Male has been hanging around the 79th Street Transverse in Central Park this week and I found him on both sides of it this afternoon and early evening. He's molting so he looks a bit rough.
My visit to Fifth Avenue started with Octavia in the nest and the three fledglings chasing each other along the rooftops of Fifth Avenue. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Then the three fledglings separated and I found one behind the Met.
I saw one of the Fifth Avenue fledglings today. I found it perched at 77th and Fifth, and then tracked it to 80th and Fifth Avenue near the entrance to the Met garage.
Sunday at Fifth Avenue was similar to Saturday, a mix of fledglings in the park and on Fifth Avenue buildings.
The Fifth Avenue fledglings are still centered around 72nd and Fifth but are also being seen further away, including The Ramble and a building on 70th and Fifth.
The three fledglings and their parents are doing very well, with them still staying around 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue. They were all flying around when I was there for about an hour this evening.
All three Fifth Avenur fledglings were near the nest building today and for a time you could stand in one place on the sidewalk of 5th Avenue and see all three. One was on the roof of the nest building, one on a balcony a few doors down, and one was very active flying back and forth across 5th Avenue. It was nice to see all three doing well.
I visited the Fifth Avenue nest today and found that all of the eyasses had fledged. I saw everyone except one fledgling. Of the two fledglings I saw one was on a window ledge on the 74th Street side of the nest building and the other on a railing two blocks north. Both parents were keeping a watch over them.
Tonight I got to see all of the Fifth Avenue family. First the two still on the nest, including the one reluctant fledgling who came back. Then Octavia who was on her favorite perch. With Lincoln Karim's kind help, I saw the first fledgling who made some small flights on the "Woody Building". And finally, Pale Male getting ready to roost for the night.