Inwood Hill Park

I took advantage of the warm weather to visit Inwood Hill Park at the northern tip of Manhattan.  Both Red-tailed Hawks visited the nest, but they don't appear to have started nesting just yet.  They copulated while I was there.

A Great Horned Owl was roosting near the Red-tailed Hawk nest.  It will be interesting to see how these birds manage to coexist.












Inwood Hill Park

Inwood Hill Park, at the upper tip of Manhattan has a great nest which is high up a Tulip Tree just south of the soccer fields.  It must be the most hidden of all the known nests in the city.  Three hours of watching yielded two small glimpses of an eyass.  There are probably more than one little one on the nest, but I'll have to wait until they're bigger to count them.







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.




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. 

Inwood Hill Fledgling

Inwood Hill Park has been a frustrating location for me this year. The new nest location made it difficult to see into the nest, so the few times I went, I didn't see any eyasses.  After they fledged, I also had trouble finding them.

On Saturday, I finally was able to find one of the fledglings with the help of Ranger Rob Mastrianni.  The fledgling was spending a quite afternoon relaxing below the old eagle hack site.









Inwood Hill and Broadway Bridge

I went up to Inwood Hill looking for the two fledglings, but could only find one of the parents.  Reports are that both fledglings have been exploring the park, and spent most of the week getting mobbed by smaller birds.  I hope to have better luck next weekend.

On the way back, I passed by Broadway Bridge.  I saw both parents, and one of the fledglings.  This is a fun site, since you can see the birds from the Number 1 train platform.  Only in New York City.












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.

Inwood Hill Park

The nest is now very difficult to view due to leaf cover.  I tried to get pictures from at least six angles and just got lots of green!  I saw at least four visits from the adults, so I suspect all is well.  The Inwood Hill Urban Rangers report seeing two chicks.

I did get to take a series of pictures of one of the adults over a soccer field.





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 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.

New Nest At Inwood Hill

James and I went up to the old nest at Inwood Hill and it looked like it hadn't been touched since last year.  We'd find out later in the afternoon, why!

Failing to find any Red-tailed Hawks, we went to the outlook that has a view up and down the Hudson River. There we found a Red-tailed Hawk hovering and behaving like an Osprey.



The wind was bitterly cold, so we started to walk down to exit the park.  The path we had come up was icy, so we took the alternate path back down.  Halfway down, we discovered the female hawk about 50 feet from a new nest.

The female

Another angle of the female.

The male came with food and cried for his mate to join him.

He kept calling but she wasn't interested.

He flew with the prey around her and then landed on a tree on the other side of the ravine.

She still wasn't interested so he went to the new nest.  It's in Tulip Tree again.



She still didn't join him.  The sun was setting, so we exited the park.  It should be a fun spring up at Inwood.  The new nest doesn't require walking up any hills to watch!

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.

Inwood Hill Park, Week 6

It was a hot day, and only one little window through the leaves is still open to take photographs of part of the Inwood Hill Red-tailed Hawk nest.   I only saw one eyas today, but I'm not worried.  About two thirds of the nest is now obscured from view.  It was a hot afternoon and I suspect the second eyas was keeping cool in the shade.

A head appears.  After no activity for over 30 minutes, I was afraid they had fledged.

A parent arrives.  Note the eyas in the background.


The parent rearranged some food and takes a few small bites.

An eyas finally appears from behind the foliage.







This may be their last week on the nest.

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!

Inwood Hill Park, Week 4

The adult female and two eyasses were visible on the nest when I arrived but one eyas was almost fully hidden by a branch.  The Red-tailed Hawks seemed very relaxed, and enjoying the warm sunlight on a cool afternoon.

After I had packed up, the adult male arrived and circled the nest.  The adult female, then took off and joined him.  I lost both adults as they flew north.

Like the Highbridge nest, more and more leaves are in the way of the nest.  Future photographs have to be from the path below the nest.