El Dorado Peregrines

I went up to see how the Red-tailed Hawks were doing up at 95th and Central Park West.  I've heard the female found a new mate over the winter and I went up to see if they were rebuilding the old nest.  I didn't see any sign of them, but I have seen two adult Red-tailed Hawks a bit further north this winter around The Pool.  I know the Fifth Avenue, Tompkins Square and Washington Square Park hawks are doing fine.  I'd be happy to get feedback on other nests, especially any nests north of Central Park.

Having come up empty, I went over to the No. 28 Bridge and saw the Peregrine Falcon female sitting in her usual roost.  She left before I could get my camera out.  I then found a falcon on a terrace railing of the north tower of the El Dorado.  I thought it was the female, but discovered it was the male after he made a pass at the highest air conditioner on the tower, where the female was eating a pigeon.  She made a cry as if to say, "I'm not sharing."  This was the first time I've seen them on the El Dorado, and it was nice to find a spot where they eat.  From the looks of the air conditioner, it looks to be the site of many meals.

Update 2/11/19: I received a report from a resident of 350 Central Park West that visits were made to the Red-tailed Hawk nest Monday morning. Great News!

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The air conditioner is marked by the light circle on the right hand tower.

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Peregrine Falcons Hunt

On Tuesday afternoon, I got to see the Peregrine Falcon pair perched in their regular spot near the No. 28/Gothic Bridge.  The female hunted and caught a pigeon mid-air in under a minute.  Peregrine Falcons are deadly hunters!  The pigeon took much longer to eat, around 25 minutes.

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Peregrine Falcons

The pair of Peregrine Falcons seem to be a regular fixture in a tree on the northwest shore of the Reservoir in Central Park on sunny afternoons.  This easy to watch perch is going to make a lot of birders and photographers very happy this winter.

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Peregrine Falcons

On Wednesday, I got to see two Peregrine Falcons in a tree just south of the No. 28 Bridge (aka Gothic Bridge), SW of the Reservoir's North Gate House.  Last winter a single falcon would hang out in this tree during the afternoons, so it was wonderful to see a pair this year in the exact same spot.  In Manhattan, we usually see Peregrine Falcons perched high on a building, so seeing these two birds in a tree was a special treat.

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Two Buteos, Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk

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.

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Merlin Eating

The Merlin that has been hanging around the Great Lawn this December, was eating what looked like a Tufted Titmouse this afternoon.  It was fun to watch it fan its tail to help keep its balance while eating.

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Great Lawn Merlin

A Merlin, an medium sized Falcon, has been hanging around the Great Lawn for about a week.  It seems to have a lot of enemies.  It was hassled by an American Kestrel, a Red-tailed Hawk and some Blue Jays all within a few minutes while I was watching it.

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Barred Owl And A Cooper's Hawk

On Saturday, at dusk those watching the Barred Owl got a special treat.  A Cooper's Hawk came in and harassed the Barred Owl.  There was calling by both birds, which included the strange Cooper's Hawk sounds.  After this the Barred Owl went to a low branch giving everyone great looks. 

The Barred Owl watchers were well behaved and kept quiet.  All of a sudden we and the owl heard loud clapping.  It turns out that while we were looking at the owl, an Italian couple got engaged!  It is Central Park not a nature preserve, so other things do happen!

The fun continued as the Barred Owl flew to an Oak Tree and went after squirrels.  It didn't seem to get them, but they are in its view all day so I guess it's worth a try.  I've seen a Great Horned Owl exhibit similar behavior.  So, just when I think I understand the fly out behavior, the owl or in this case a Cooper's Hawk mixes things up.

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Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Two Adult Red-Tailed Hawks

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.

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Peregrines at The Century

I went to Central Park South tonight to figure out where the Sheep Meadow Red-tailed Hawk pair have relocated only to see the male briefly at 64th and Fifth Avenue.  I saw them copulate last week by Tavern on the Green, but that was the last time I saw the female.  So, this is still a mystery.  If anyone has figured it out, please let me know.

While looking for the Red-tails, I saw The Century Peregrine Falcons again on Central Park West.  They were on both The Century and the Zeckendorf buildings.


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Surprise, Surprise

Thanks to some great detective work by Melody Andres, we now know that both the Grant's Tomb (1) nest at 123rd Street and Riverside Drive and the 116th Street and Riverside Drive nest (2) are both active with two different pairs of hawks.  These are close by to a Peregrine Falcon scrape (3) at Riverside Church, and close to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine nest site (4).

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I had always thought Manhattan Hawk and Peregrine nests were like a checkerboard, with each taking different squares, but these three nests are so close together that it defies all that I had believed about nest positioning in the city.

Grant's Tomb


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116th Street and Riverside Drive


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Moral Dilemma

Two years ago, a Peregrine Falcon nest box was installed on The Century building at 25 Central Park West.  It was installed by the owners without permission of the Coop board on a landmarked building without a permit.  At the time, I thought it was outrageous that the owners of the apartment then cried foul, knowing full well that they had intentionally gone behind the back of the Coop, which at the time was having the facade repaired. The box was removed that year by the Coop.

So, I was upset today seeing what must be the same pair hanging out on both towers of The Century today.  The falcons certainly seem to be planning on using the same ledge a scrape this year.  I hope either the city DEP or state DEC can get involved and mediate a solution.  It would be great if this Peregrine Falcon pair could be supported somehow, while the regulations of both the Coop and city's building department are both respected.


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