Nest Updates

A lot happened in Manhattan this past week:

Broadway Bridge Peregrines: Bonnie Talluto confirms the two eyasses are now fledglings.

Inwood Hill Park: Diane Schenker reports the nest has hatched.  She can see at least one eyass, but can't get a good count yet.

Highbridge Park: Mitchell Nusbaum reports the nest has fledged.

St. John the Divine: The surviving nestling fledged on Friday.

Riverside Park: The pair is sitting on their second clutch.

55 Water Street Peregrines: They've all fledged.

Highbridge Park and Inwood Hill Park Nests

I visited the Inwood Hill and Highbridge Park nests on Saturday.

Although I saw the male briefly at Inwood Hill, I had no luck seeing how the nest was doing. The tree leaves are so filled in now, it was impossible to see the nest. The Inwood Hill hawk nest was damaged earlier this year, and hawk watchers in the park believe the female laid a second set of eggs.  The behavior of the parents lead everyone to believe there are eyasses, but we may not know until they fledge!

The Highbridge nest is doing fine.  When I arrived the male was in a tree about 100 yards from the nest.  The nest itself has at least two eyasses, both of whom look healthy.  All of the pictures are from the Highbridge nest.  Just like in Inwood, dense foliage makes looking into the nest difficult.




Highbridge Park Nest Hatches

A visit today to Highbridge Park, found their nest to be active with two or three eyasses (baby hawks).  Both parents were both engaged in keeping the eyasses warm and feeding them.  This pair consistently has eyasses in mid-April, and they continue the tradition this year.

At the end of the video, note that the mother comes back with a wet set of chest feathers. (For those who might not believe this is Manhattan, in the video, you can see one of the Circle Line boats pass by!)







Highbridge Park Nest

This year the hawks nesting in upper Highbridge Park have moved their nest lower and a few blocks north.  If you're a good hill climber, you can get a decent look into the nest. This area seems to be a great spot for Red-tailed Hawks even though it is surrounded by highways and apartment buildings. 

The female stayed on the nest the entire time I was up at the nest.  Any pictures of a hawk off the nest are of the male.














Eyasses In Manhattan At Highbridge Park

I went up to Highbridge Park to see if the eggs had hatched after visiting Inwood Hill Park.  (At Inwood, I saw both parents, but couldn't tell if the chicks had hatched yet.)

After a long wait, the female got up and started feeding.  The eyasses are still small, and I couldn't get an accurate count.  There is only a hint of down in one of the pictures, but the videos clearly show the feeding.




Manhattan Nests

From north to south, we have the following confirmed nesting sites in Manhattan this year:  Inwood Hill Park, Highbridge Park (back to the old location, which should be safer than last year's location), Lower Riverside Park (also in a new and safer location), Fifth Avenue and 888 Seventh Avenue.  I visited all of them this weekend.  They all seem to be in good shape, with chicks expected within the next few weeks.

Some nests have changed from last year. 

There is no sign of a nest below 14th Street, although there have been reports of hawks downtown all winter, including Tompkins Square Park, the World Trade Center construction site, the Court Houses around Center Street, Seward Park, Washington Square Park and the Greenway.

Last year's nest on Houston Street is not being used again this year.  The male from last year's nest died of Fronce and while hawks have been seen on the Lower East Side all winter, no signs of a new nest has been found.

The St. John the Divine's pair have both been seen recently but further uptown.  Construction continues on the church and they may have moved but no one has found a new nest location.  This one is a real mystery.

The Shepard Hall, City College nest looks bigger according to reports, but nest looks unoccupied.  The hawks may be nesting somewhere nearby.

Here are pictures of four nests from this weekend:

Inwood Hill Park


Continue reading "Manhattan Nests" »

Riverside and Broadway

I spent the early afternoon looking at the Riverside Red-tailed Hawk pair on Saturday.  There nest is just off the Hudson River near 8st Street and looks great.  Last year they laid eggs around mid-March, so the female should start sitting on the nest soon.

Other nests in Manhattan are doing well.  Inwood Hill Park, Highbridge Park, St. John the Divine and 5th Avenue nests are doing fine.  The Highbridge nest is back to its old spot.

The Central Park South pair is still there but I don't have any details about their nest.  The Houston female lost her mate last year, and may be nesting on the ConEd plant around 14th Street.  The pair that was around the City College campus remains a mystery.

Sightings of hawks this winter around the north end of Riverside Park and around the Court House buildings on Center Street make these locations possibilities for new nests this year.













When leaving Riverside Park, check out the American Kestrels that have a scrape at 80th and Broadway.  One of them is usually on the building south of Zabar's or on the church at 79th and Broadway.



Annus Horribilis

As this year's Manhattan Red-tailed Hawk nesting season comes to an end, it must be said this seems to be the worst year for Red-tails in the borough in recent memory.  It really was an "Annus Horribilis".

Here's the current status of Manhattan's known nesting pairs:

  • Houston Street - This nest ended up being "too urban", with each fledgling being picked up by animal control or the police. 

    The father was recently picked up as well after being found grounded.  He died this weekend from frounce, a disease picked up from eating infected pigeons.

    The first to be picked up has been returned to Astoria Park, and is in the "foster care" of the Triborough Bridge parents.  The parents have accepted the fledgling, but there is now a chance the bird has frounce.  It is being monitored by two dedicated Astoria hawk watchers, Jules and Peter. (Update: 7-4-08, the Houston fledgling does have frounce, which was detected on 7-2-08.  It took until 7-4-08 to find and capture the bird.)

    The two other fledglings are still with the rehabilitator Bobby Horvath and are being treated for frounce.  Their prognosis is good, but frounce can be a killer even with treatment.  (Update: 7-2-08, Sad news, one of these two fledgling has died from frounce.)
  • 888 Seventh Avenue - There was no sign of nesting this year.
  • Fifth Avenue - Despite repairs to their nest cradle, Pale Male and Lola did not produce any offspring this year.
  • 81st and Riverside - Three eyasses died due to secondary poisoning from eating poisoned rodents.  Necropsy results have not been finalized, but all three eyasses tested positive for two types of anti-coagulant rodenticide, brodifacoum and bromodiolone.
  • Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine -  The original adult male died earlier this year and was replaced with a new younger male.  There were two fledglings, one of which developed lead poisoning and has a lame foot, and is in rehab.
  • Shepard Hall, City College - There was no sign of nesting this year.  Red-tails sometimes build multiple nests, choosing one at the last minute.  However, despite repeated efforts to follow the parents, alternative sites were not discovered.
  • Highbridge Park -  Two eyasses died at about two weeks of age, reasons unknown.
  • Inwood Hill Park - Two or three eyasses depending on reporters. Two fledglings seen in the park.

So, it's been a horrible year.  We've had two adults die, and numerous eyasses and fledglings be poisoned, injured or infected. 

5-27-08 Manhattan Red-tailed Hawk Nest Update

Of the eight known nests in Manhattan, here's their status this week (changes in italics)...

5th Avenue, nest failure.  NYC Audubon is coordinating with the building to retrieve the eggs for testing when they do their window washing.

888 Seventh Avenue, uncertain.

St. John the Divine, two eyasses visible

Highbridge Park, nest abandoned, two eyasses presumed to have died at about two weeks of age, reasons unkown.  Robert Schmunk, James O'Brien and I have all spent time up at the nest over the last week and it has been abandoned.  James O'Brien discovered the pair mating this weekend, so we've all agreed the nest has failed.

Inwood Hill Park, two or three eyasses depending on reporters.  Nest is now surrounded by green leaves making it difficult to observe.

South Riverside Park,.  Parents have built a new nest.  It is uncertain if they will lay eggs this year, or wait until next spring.  Toxicology reports due for the second and third eyasses soon. 

Houston Street, three eyasses. 

Shepard Hall, City College, nest is too difficult to observe to be sure.  Update 5/28: I had confused a note from James O'Brien about where copulation had occurred.  It was at Highbridge, not City College.  So, behavior still makes the nest look active with hatched eggs, however there has yet to be a sighting of an eyas.

Manhattan Hawk Nest Update

Of the eight known nests in Manhattan, here's their status this week...

5th Avenue, nest failure.  Lola has stopped sitting on the eggs.

888 Seventh Avenue, uncertain.

St. John the Divine, feeding behavior has started, but no eyasses visible, which isn't unusual for this nest.

Highbridge Park, two eyasses

Inwood Hill Park, three eyasses

South Riverside Park, death of three chicks.   (Updated: 5-13-08.  The necrospy at the DEC Pathology unit of one of the chicks showed acute hemorrhaging of the lungs.  This discovery makes secondary poisoning the most likely cause of death, although hypothermia is still a posibility.  Further tests will be carried out to try and identify the anticoagulant or other possible toxins.  Thank you, Lincoln Karim, for taking the chick up to Dr. Stone's lab.)

Houston Street, three eyasses.

Shepard Hall, City College, nest is too difficult to observe to be sure.

Manhattan Hawk Nest Update

Of the eight known nests in Manhattan, here's their status this week...

5th Avenue, nest failure.

888 Seventh Avenue, dirty windows are making observations difficult.
4/29/08 Update from Brett. He doesn't believe they are using 888 Seventh Avenue to nest this year, or at least not yet. (1)

St. John the Divine, feeding behavior has not started, so guesses are the female is still brooding.

Highbridge Park, eggs hatched based on feeding behavior.  Number of eyasses, at least two.  (2)

Inwood Hill Park, eggs hatched and chick sighted. Number of eyasses unknown. (2)

South Riverside Park, eggs hatched and two chick sighted. (3)

Houston Street, at least one egg has hatched out of three eggs. (4)

Shepard Hall, City College, female appears to still be brooding, but nest is difficult to observe.

(1) Brett Odom
(2) Robert Schmunk, Bloomingdale Village Blog
(3) Donna Browne, Pale Male Irregulars Blog
(4) Lincoln Karim,

Highbridge Hatched?

I didn't see any eyasses while up at Highbridge Park today, but the female and male spent over twenty minutes looking into the nest.  There were two carcasses on the nest, and the mother never got fully down into the nest.  So, I would suspect that either hatching was in progress or had just occurred.  I think I'll go back on Sunday to see what's up.









Highbridge Nest Still Brooding

The Highbridge nest hasn't hatched yet.  I went up hoping it would be Manhattan's first nest with eyasses, but not yet.

The female was sitting when I arrived.  The male arrived on a nearby tree being chased by Blue Jays.  He eat HIS meal in sight of the female, but didn't bring her any food or give her a break while I was there!














Highbridge Park

The new Highbridge Park nest is doing well.  On Saturday, when I arrived the female was sitting on the nest.  After about an hour the male arrived, and gave the female a twenty minute break.

The female sitting on the nest.


Rolling the eggs?


The male arrives



The male on the left arriving to give the female a break.





The male on the nest.

The female returns.

She has to nudge him to get him to give up his spot.

The male exiting the nest.


The female rearranging some twigs.


Highbridge Nest Rediscovered and General Update

Glenn Alvarez wrote me on Friday to say that he had found the new location of the Highbridge Park nest.  I went up and saw it on Saturday.  It looks to be in a great new location.




Of the eight known nests in Manhattan, here's their status this week...

5th Avenue, Lola sitting on the eggs.

888 Seventh Avenue, Lots of mating and twigging. Not sure if brooding has started.

St. John the Divine, Not sitting yet.

Highbridge Park, New nest location.  Female sitting on eggs.

Inwood Hill Park, New nest location.  Female sitting on eggs.

South Riverside Park, Female sitting on eggs.

Houston Street, Female sitting on eggs.  The male picked up earlier in the month downtown, turns out NOT to be from this nest.

Shepard Hall, City College, New nest.  Not sure of status.

And in the Bronx, Chris Lyons reports Rose is sitting on the Fordham University nest.

Fledging Updates

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.

Highbridge Park, Brancher or Fledgling

I went up to Highbridge Park today, and found the "window" from the path that provides a view from below.  (Thanks to James and Robert for directions.)  I arrived to what looked to be an empty nest but knew from the angle that the eyasses might just be on the other side of the nest.


What's this?  The movement came from twenty feet above the nest.

A youngster.

Now are you a brancher or a fledgling?  You're still in the same tree as your nest.


One of the parents kept circling over the nest in a pattern that seemed to say "Follow me, Follow me."


Another fly over by the parent.

An eyass appears on the nest.  So, two are accounted for.

Then a second eyass appears.  So, all there young ones are accounted for.

They get close for a bit, two heads stacked.

The eyass looks up at its older sibling on the branch.

And our brancher keeps looking at the parent circling overhead.

So, you didn't let me know if you were just a brancher or real fledgling.  I do know one thing for sure, you aren't going to be in this tree next weekend!

Fledge Date Guesses for Manhattan

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.

EyassesHatch (Best Guess)+42+46
Queens Nestcam24/135/255/29
Inwood Hill24/206/16/5
St. John34/276/86/12
888 7th Avenue14/296/106/14

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!

Highbridge Nest Update

Views of the Highbridge nest are disappearing as the trees leaf out.  I almost slid down the steep hill near the nest taking these obscured shots.

Both parents were off the nest as I took these pictures.  These may have to be my last pictures of the Highbridge nest this year.