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.
Hawks don't spend much time on their nests outside of breading season, but they do make visits like one of the Fifth Avenue hawks did today. Later in the day, I saw a young hawk at 78th and Fifth on a communications dish above the French cultural center. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Pale Male and Octavia to kick the youngster out.
I first spotted Octavia (Pale Male's mate) on top of one of Fifth Avenue's ugliest buildings this afternoon, 1001 Fifth Avenue, "designed" if you can call it that, by the firm of Johnson/Burgee. She had the good taste to move to the Met's SE corner, and then the NE corner before I lost her as she flew around 86th Street and the East Drive at dusk. I think she might have a roost somewhere a few blocks north of the Met.
I caught up with Pale Male just north of the Obelisk on Sunday, and then a young Cooper's Hawk eating a bird a bit further north. Nice to see that are starting to get some visiting raptors to the park.
Today both Pale Male and Octavia were both at the northern reaches of their territory. Pale Male was on a building at 87th and Fifth, which has a nice view of the Reservoir and the birds migrating south. Today, that included a kettle of Broad-winged Hawks and two Bald Eagles. Octavia was up north as well and I found her perched on the north side of the Met. This northern area is full of food in the fall, with rodents eating apples near the Hamilton Statue, song birds that die due to collisions with the Temple of Dendur windows, and rodents on the Birdle Path south and east of the Reservoir.
Just a short video of Pale Male today on the "Oreo" Building, called this because it is brown with a white strip of bricks. Plus some photos of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. It was nice to have some sunshine today!
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.