Thanks to a call from Lincoln Karim, I got to photograph the 888 fledgling who is now very, very difficult to find. It has been raining, so her coloring is more intense than usual.
After the discovery of the Red-tailed Hawk nest on the Unisphere in Queens, I thought global domination by Red-tails was over for the season. But the adult male of the 888 Seventh Avenue nest proved me wrong. He perched on the replica of the Unisphere outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Tuesday evening, just outside the park at 60th and Central Park West.
The 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling is doing great. She's now a quite capable hunter. On Tuesday evening, she captured a large rodent and put on show for the tourists at the south of the park.
She's becoming much harder to find, a sign of her increasing independence. I won't be surprised if she leaves the park soon to begin her life's adventure away from her parents. I'll miss her, but will be happy knowing that Central Park has been a safe haven for yet another Red-tail youngster.
Not to be out done by their child, the 888 Seventh Avenue parents spent the night on 15 Central Park West. This may be the highest roost, we've seen a Red-tailed Hawk use.
While I was watching these two, an inline skater came by and showed me pictures from earlier in the evening. It was of the 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling. She was hunting on the bridge just inside the park from Central Park South at Seventh Avenue. Unfortunately, while he was taking pictures someone actually went up to the fledgling and touched her. No harm was done, but it's a shame some New Yorkers don't have common sense!
On Sunday evening, I found the 888 fledgling high atop the new Zeckendorf building at 15 Central Park West. She looked quite majestic that high up. I think she's sitting on a 45 million dollar condo! The building's 201 units sold for over 2 billion. The 888 Seventh Avenue hawks have expensive tastes!
I birded both ends of Central Park on Saturday. Up north, there were Snowy Egrets flying south. The fall migration has started and the species list on NYC Bird Report has warblers, ducks and other birds that haven't been seen since the spring.
My Sunday walk from the Sheep Meadow to the Metropolitan Museum of Art started and ended with two fathers, the 888 Seventh Avenue male, nicknamed Junior and the 5th Avenue male, Pale Male.
After watching the fledgling, I went up to The Lake to watch Sandpipers. Here are two Least Sandpipers having fun. They're quite a social bunch. We're used to seeing a stray Sandpiper or two in the park, so it's a treat to watch the Least Sandpiper flock behavior.
I went looking for the 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling this afternoon, but found her mother instead. She was at the northwest corner of the Sheep Meadow in Central Park around 67th near Tavern on the Green.
She was being scolded by a group of Robins, who helped me find her.
I found the 888 fledgling flying west on 58th Street today, and then landing on the Time-Warner building in Columbus Circle. Her flying skills have really improved. This perch is about ten stories high.
After a few days of difficulty finding the 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling, she was found with her father near the 67th Street Playground, which is just off Central Park West.
Lincoln Karim and I were shooting from opposite sides, and both managed to get blurry pictures of each other. (Although our pictures might make us look like we're close to the fledgling, we both kept a safe distance. Our telephoto lenses flatten the depth of field.)
After the rain stopped on Sunday, I heard the 888 Fledgling begging for food, but could only find the mother. She moved from the Locust Grove to the Ballfields while I was there.
The 888 fledgling is being encouraged to do some hunting by her parents. But she's not doing that great at hunting yet. It takes practice and she'll get the hang of it soon.
Here she is perched on the northern side of the ballfields. I'm calling her a she because of the size of the band Bobby Horvath used to band her, a 7D. This is the largest size used for Red-tails, so the odds are 99% that she's a she. Her band number is 1207-98290.
The more I learn about Bobby Horvath, the more I admire him. Last Wednesday, he was involved with an Osprey rescue where with the help with a friend, two good samaritans and a ladder borrowed from a local fire house, he freed a young fledgling who had gotten caught in rope and fishing tackle that its parents had used to build the nest. The bird dislocated its hip hanging upside down and thrashing to get free, so Bobby has been nursing it back to health.
The Southwest corner of Central Park has gotten noisy. The 888 Seventh Avenue parents are trying to wean the fledgling from feedings and are trying to get it to hunt on its own. As a result, the fledgling spent over an hour begging for food Thursday evening.
I only had an hour to visit the park on Sunday. But I did get to see the 888 Fledgling.
She has a band on her right foot. Banding has been done for over one hundred years in the United States. It's exciting that we finally have a banded fledgling in Manhattan. If we could possibly band more of them, we might be able to figure out the habits of Red-tailed Hawks born in the city. Do they end up in other urban areas? Do they disperse for a season or two and then return after their "walkabout"? It would be great to learn more about the habits of urban Red-tails.
Saturday with the Central Park fledgling was a quiet afternoon of a bird resting in the hot weather followed by some fun in the early evening.
I arrived around 7:30 to find American Robins and the 888 Seventh Avenue having a minor war. Junior had taken a Robin nestling, and the adult Robins were going after him. He moved north and south. While others looked for the fledgling, I looked for Junior but found Charlotte instead.
The girl who seemed so shy when she first entered the park is growing up. Her range has increased, she's hunting and has lost the awkwardness she had when she first entered the park.
The 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling continues to do well in the park. A good flyer, she still has problems with branching.
The fledgling has been banded. Despite protests by some bloggers against bands, they do not bother the birds. They allows scientists to study migration patterns and if this bird is injured give those giving help access to its past medical records.
The Central Park South hawks were having a relaxed time Saturday evening. The fledgling was in a tree, taking it easy and the parents were flying about the south end of the park. They must be enjoying the weekend after such a hard week!
I got to Central Park in the early evening after visiting Inwood Hill Park. I had struck out trying finding the hawk family in Inwood, so I was hoping for better luck at the Heckscher Ballfields.
The mirrored building seems to fascinate this pair. New York City Audubon has been working to minimize bird deaths from building collisions. This spring they published an excellent guide for building owners and architects, Bird-Safe Building Guidelines, as part of their Project Safe Flight initiative.
What a nice way to start the summer, with fledglings playing all over New York City.
Our Central Park South fledgling is a good flyer for being so young. She has managed to make it to the southern edge of the Sheep Meadow, and to each corner of the Heckscher Ballfields.
Wednesday started out as a foggy, rainy morning in the southern portion of Central Park with a fledgling who spent the night alone, and ended as a sunny evening, with a family reunited.
My earlier posts detail the morning and the reunion. It had been found by its parents earlier in the afternoon and noisy reunion was followed by a feeding.
I got back into the park around 6 p.m. The fledgling was in a small tree behind a baseball diamond. The fledgling was hopping from branch to branch learning how to maneuver around a tree.
I had to leave the park to join some friends for dinner, but left with a warm feeling, that a hawk family was back to normal in the park I love, Central Park.
Thank you to Bobby Horvath and all of the Urban Park Rangers who made this possible.
Charlotte (the mother) and the fledgling of the Central Park South/888 Seventh Avenue pair reunited around 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon. It was noisy affair with lots of calling by both of them. They were seen flying off together.
Later, the parents caught a squirrel for the youngster around 4:45.
There are still some concerns that everything will go back to normal, and the fledgling needs to become people shy after all of the handling, but everything so far has been positive.
The 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling has been returned to the park. It was placed in a quiet fenced-in area. It is two blocks into the park and about five blocks from the nest. The parents haven't found the fledgling yet and still seem to be searching in the blocks around the nest. Hopefully, the young fledgling will get hungry soon and start to beg for food so the parents can find it.
(For those who aren't New Yorkers, the nest site is in a horrible location. It's far from the park, has a narrow ledge and is very high. When fledglings are returned to their parents, one would usually put the fledgling as close as possible to the nest. In this case however, 57th and Seventh Avenue is too dangerous an area, and returning the bird to the actual nest would require a window washing rig. It could also result in second poor fledge attempt. So, we have this less than ideal situation. Nature can be a harsh mistress.)
I arrived at the nest a little after sunrise to find the fledgling in the tree it has roosted in last night.
The park's department has assigned an Urban Park Ranger to keep an eye on the fledgling for a few days. The ranger is Rob Mastrianni. He was responsible for the rescue of the Inwood Hill Park female, who had two wonderful eyasses this spring. He's a great choice for the job.
Now, just hope and pray that nature will get these parents and their fledgling back on course.
The fledgling from the 888 Seventh Avenue nest is in the caring hands of Bobby Horvath. Details of the fledglings troubles in the plaza of the Ziegfeld Theater, can be found on the websites of the various New York City newspapers. A fledgling's first few days on the ground can be full of troubles.
Bobby Horvath is a licensed rehabber and will do what is best for the fledgling. He runs a rescue center on Long Island, Wildlife in Need of Rehab and Rescue, Inc.
His phone number has been placed on the www.palemale.com website along with some very negative and untrue statements about Mr. Horvath. Please don't harrass Mr. Horvath. He's got the best interests of the fledgling at heart.
News from Brett Odom
"Sometime between last night and this morning the eyas at 888 7th Avenue fledged. I
have not been able to locate him as of yet from my office. If any of you hear of
anything (good or bad) can you please either email me or post it on your blogs.
I've been reading them religiously this year.
Also, if there are any tips on how to locate fledged hawks, please pass them along and I will keep an eye out for him from my window.
Regards, Brett Odom"
James O'Brien passed along excellent advice to Brett in response to his question.
"Thats great news...he's probably hanging out on top of a building! The best way to locate him is to look for the parents. They will be bringing him/her food, so when you see them with prey, they'll be calling and circling trying to lure the fledgling out. "
Reports are coming from Donna Browne and Richard Schmunk about fledgings.
Donna reports that the first fledge has occurred at Fordham University in the Bronx via her blog.
Robert also has a report of a first fledge at St. John the Divine on his blog.
These early days watching new fledglings can be lots of fun. If you have a chance, visit either location and enjoy the experience.
The eyas on 888 Seventh Avenue should be fledging soon too. Watch for it to fly to a nearby roof sometime over the next few days. Keep an eye on Carnegie Hall. This may be the first stop.
On Saturday, I got to see to see the adult female and the eyas at 888 Seventh Avenue. It will be an interesting fledge and journey to the Central Park.
The eyas on 888 Seventh Avenue is now running/flapping along the ledge, so one can finally see some activity from the street. The eyas looks very healthy and in great shape to fly soon.
Until today, this was the one eyas I known about but hadn't yet seen. This brings my hawk watching total for the season to 23 adults, 2 1st years, and 23 eyasses/fledglings for a total of 48 Red-tailed hawks in four boroughs of New York.
With the exception of the Astoria nest, all of these nests were in established territories.
I know I am missing a number of nests in the upper Bronx, eastern Queens and all of Staten Island. The total number of New York City's Red-tailed Hawks could easily be double my count.
If you've been looking at the Queen's Hawkcam, you'll notice that the young are close to fledging. General wisdom is that it take between 42 and 46 days for a hawk to fledge. I've tried to take a guess at what I think the Manhattan hatch dates were and calculated the approximate fledge dates. Of course, the normal "Your mileage may vary" disclaimer applies here.
|Eyasses||Hatch (Best Guess)||+42||+46|
|888 7th Avenue||1||4/29||6/10||6/14|
One thing I'm sure of however, is that I need to spend this Memorial Day weekend visiting Highbridge and Inwood Hill Park before it's too late!
I just received a note from Brett Odom updating me on the status of the Seventh Avenue nest...
"Just wanted to give you an update. Everything seems to be fine and the nest is in an ideal location for rainstorms similar to the one we had yesterday since it is protect from all sides. Right now Charlotte is on the nest with the sleeping eyas and Junior is sitting on the Essex sign.
(For those not living in the New York area, yesterday, we had a severe thunderstorm roll through the area. This new nest is full protected from such storms, while the old Central Park South nest would have been completely soaked and exposed high winds.)
I've been corresponding with Brett Odom, who has a view of the 888 7th Avenue nest. He confirmed on Monday that there was only one chick in the nest.
Brett asked me about the fledglings and if they would have any problems getting down from such a high floor. I figured out the height of both 888 Seventh Avenue and the former nest on Parc Trump. They're a floor apart! So, if the chicks could do it two years ago, I think we'll be fine this year.
I've received confirmation that a chick has hatched at 888 Seventh Avenue, so that makes the second building nest to hatch in Manhattan. So the Old School/New School score is tied 2-2.
The report came in from Brett Odom, who reports "This morning Jr. brought a pigeon to the nest and dropped it off. When Charlotte got up to prepare it I got a really good look at most of the empty nest. It looks to me that there is only one chick and no other eggs, but I could be wrong as part of the nest is obscured by a metal strip that connects the two pieces of decorative glass that the nest is behind. The eyas is currently no bigger than a softball, but is very active when not being sit upon."
It looks like the Pale Male and Lola, 5th Avenue nest is yet again unsuccessful this year. Although this is sad news, it shouldn't keep you from watching baby Red-tails. They're all over Manhattan and greater New York. So, make a visit to the other nests. Red-tails nests are all over New York City for your enjoyment!
And if the locations are too remote for you to get to, remember that the NYC Audubon sponsored Queens Red-tailed Hawk camera operates 24/7. It can be accessed from either Jeffrey Kollbrunner's website or from the NYC Audubon website.
The new location of the Central Park South hawk's nest on 888 Seventh Avenue can't be seen from the street. The nest is on the east face of the building between 56th and 57th Street.
Does anyone have a view of the nest? It's twelve stories down from the top of the building.
Update: Lincoln Karim has some great shots of the nest on his site, www.palemale.com. The nest, which I originally thought might have been behind the vents, is sandwiched between a faux window, and the vents. It seems like a very secure location, free of rain, wind and direct sunlight. The actual nest placement, is one set of windows north of where I had originally thought the nest was located.
I went up to Inwood Hill Park, in addition to Highbridge yesterday. Although the female was sitting much higher on the nest, I didn't see any baby hawks. Neither did Robert B. Schmunk who was up there at the same time.
On Saturday evening, I saw that Alice Danna had also been up to Inwood Hill Park (but earlier in the day), and had seen two eyasses with one of the rangers (via Donna Browne's Palemaleirregulars blog.)
So, I gave it a second try on Sunday and was able to confirm Alice's report. I didn't see two eyasses, but the mother's behavior would make me believe that there was more than the one eyas.
This makes the two "old school" tree nests in Manhattan a success, while we don't yet know the fate of the three "new school" building nests, 5th Avenue, St. John the Divine and 888 7th Avenue. So the current score is Old School 2 - New School ?.
Below are pictures of the Inwood Hill Park female and her eyas(ses?) There would be no sign of an eyas and then a head would pop up for a few seconds. It was impossible to tell if it was the same eyas or multiple eyasses.
It look like the Central Park South nest has definitely been moved to 888 Seventh Avenue. Or should we say into 888 Seventh Avenue.
This will prevent us from keeping a close eye on the nest. Hopefully eyasses will pop out later this year!
I ran all around New York City on Sunday. Although spring hasn't officially arrived, the city's hawks are quite busy.
First stop was 888 Seventh Avenue. I saw both CPS Red-tailed hawks flying around 888 Seventh, but they both went past it. I found them on 1740 Broadway. It's great to see them being so urban, but watching them this season is going to be tough.
I went back to the nest later in the afternoon and saw the male of the pair soaring over Morningside Park.
The female Red-tail left the nest and went in the direction of the projects at 103rd, so I walked down to see if she was on the Fredrick Douglas Houses. No luck finder her, but since the Monk Parakeets were in the neighborhood, I walked west.
The Monk Parakeet pair was busy ripping the nest apart. James O'Brien, who had joined me for part of the afternoon, thought it was spring cleaning, since many of the sticks lying on 103rd were full of feathers and poop. I got a note from Rebekah Creshkoff who reports seeing a third Parakeet near the nest an hour earlier. So, it might be possible that a second couple is moving in. Another early spring mystery.
After lunch, I went to see the Red-headed Woodpecker at Morningside Drive and 92nd Street. While I was there, two Red-tailed Hawks flew overhead.
Then it was off to visit Pale Male and Lola.
Next I went to see our 86th Street winter guest, who will either leave soon or stake out this area of the park for the summer.
Lincoln Karim reports that he has seen the Central Park South pair bringing sticks to 888 7th Avenue. So, it's likely that the nest will be in a new location in 2007.
The old nest building Trump Park (the nest is out of view on the west facing side), and the possible new site on 888 Seventh Avenue. 888 is across the street from Carnegie Hall and is between 56th and 57th Street.
We'll know in a few weeks where the nest will be for sure. Anyone have a high western view from Carnegie Hill tower? If you do, get out your binoculars and send in a report! The possible nest location is on the lower row of vents, 12 stories from the top. From the row of windows one lower than the vents, go five windows from the left, then go up to the lower row of vents. You'll see a beam rather than vent. This is the opening being use by the hawks. [Update: It looks like there are multiple entry and exit points.]
If they have moved the nest, should we start calling them the Carnegie Hall Hawks?
On Saturday, I started out at the bottom of the park.
James O'Brien (yojimbot.blogspot.com) hosted a Harlem and Washington Heights bird watching walk on Sunday.
We then took a brief subway ride to Broadway Bridge, which is a car and subway draw bridge at the upper end of Manhattan. The bridge is home to two Peregrine Falcons.
Just after we arrived the pair of Peregrine Falcons hassled a Red-tailed Hawk perched on top of an apartment building just east of the Marble Hill train station. This hawk may be one of the Inwood Hill Park Red-tails.
On Saturday, I had a slow start. I started in the Ramble trying to chase down the White-crowned Sparrow without much luck. I then walked to Turtle Pond and found a cute group of Buffleheads among some Mallards and Northern Shovelers.
I thought she had gone to the Model Boat Pond, so I walked there. When I arrived I saw that Pale Male was on a building two blocks south of the nest location. (Lola may have stopped in the Ramble for a late lunch.)
Having seen four of the six building-breeding Manhattan Red-tailed Hawks, I went up to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. My luck ran out, as I was only able to see the male of the Cathedral pair. However, five out of six isn't that bad!
I had a chance to inspect the Trump Parc nest on Central Park South on Thursday evening. It looks to be in good shape for use next year.
Sunday afternoon the rain finally let up for a bit. The light was difficult and I missed getting a photograph of a Yellow Warbler up in the North Woods.
Doing the math, I'm concerned about the Trump Parc nest. Given when the first egg was discovered and padding very generously for delayed incubation and hatching this is the time line:
First egg discovered, March 13
Possible delay of incubation, add 2 days, March 15
Incubation takes 28-35 Days, add 35 days, April 19
Hatching, up to 4 days, add 4 days, April 23
This is the most generous timeline I can create, 41 days. Given that no one has seen chicks yet, I think we should prepare ourselves for a negative outcome with this first set of eggs.
It rained most of the day in New York City on Saturday. The photographs below are from Saturday afternoon between 1:45 and 2:45 during a break in the weather.
Friday, it was back to dull evening behavior. (I wonder if the flurry of activity on Thursday was due to the unseasonably warm weather with temperatures in the 80s.)
Until today watching the Central Park South Hawks nesting from the street has been like watching paint dry.
All of these behavior changes could be a sign that the eggs have hatched or are about to. We'll know the answer in a few days.
Update: I received an email from Ben Cacace who was digiscoping (using a digital camera with a telescope) from a nearby hotel at the same time I was photographing from the street. From the higher view, there appeared to be an egg in the nest. So, we'll need to wait a bit before passing out the cigars.
With Junior giving Charlotte a break midday, it's very quiet looking at the nest in the late afternoon/early evening.
Looking up at the nest from the "Little Hill" (the small hill between 6th and 7th Avenues just north of the Essex House just inside the park), one can't see any activity in the late afternoon. You might even think the nest was empty.
The nest has eggs. How many? Still a mystery.