It's been cold enough that owls will soon be migrating through Central Park, so I always look at a set of pines in the Arthur Ross Pinetum this time of year. I heard a squirrel cry, and instead of an owl I found this young Cooper's Hawk, who quickly went after a bird and made a meal of it.
November is a great time to watch hawks in Central Park. Migrants are coming through, both adults and juveniles and resident Red-tailed adults are more visible as the trees loose their leaves. Here's a group of images taken over the last two weeks, from the south end to the north.
In the Loch at the waterfall near the rustic bridge, in Central Park, there was a Yellow-breasted Chat. While we waited a young Red-tailed Hawk made an appearance.
An afternoon trip to Governors Island had the highlight of this Red-tailed Hawk perched on a weather vane. I think this is the second-year hawk, I've seen earlier in the year on the island.
Fall has arrived and we're seeing Juvenile Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and Cooper's Hawks in the park in good numbers now. This juvenile was seen along with four other hawks in the northern portion of Central Park last Saturday.
A young Adult Red-tailed Hawk was hanging around the Evodia Field in Central Park's Ramble on Tuesday afternoon. As fall migration heats up, we should see more and more visitors in Central Park. A Northern Flicker, American Robins and a Gray Squirrel can be heard on the video's soundtrack.
I made a trip to Randalls Island on Sunday afternoon. The nest is in the field lights of Field 10, just north of Icahn Stadium. I found two eyasses on the nest and the mother on a light tower of Icahn Stadium.
The new nest in Fort Washington Park, may be a replacement for the J. Hood Wright nest. It's right next to Henry Hudson Parkway, so it will be interesting to see how the fledglings do. It has the benefit of a no-man's land between the Parkway and the railroad tracks, but also the danger. I saw the female on the nest and the male, who chased out a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.
Randalls Island has had a nest in the lights of Field 10 just north of Icahn Stadium for a number of years. When there were Peregrine Falcons on the hospital, I think we skipped a year, but otherwise the pair has breed consistently over the last few years.
This year was no exception. The female was on the nest and in the warm sun left the eggs for a few minutes to take a stretch.
On Thursday afternoon a young Red-tailed Hawk was eating a squirrel on a rock south of the Azalea Pond in Central Park's Ramble. It is an interesting bird with one red tail feather. We usually see the brown tail feathers of a juvenile change one by one over the summer to adult red feathers, so this one red feather is unusual.
Title says it all, "Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk Eats A Norway Rat". Just south of Trump Ice Skating Rink. Like many young hawks, this one dropped his rat while eating it.
As the title says, "Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk Eats A Tuffted Titmouse". Viewer beware. (The video is without audio as there was a middle school class watching the Red-tailed Hawk eat.)
Thursday, I searched the park hoping to find a Saw-whet Owl but came up empty. However, I did get nice looks at a Red-tailed Hawk in the West Pinetum of Central Park.
A young Red-tailed Hawk was eating a small bird on the roof of the building at 105th and Fifth Avenue as I was leaving the Conservatory Gardens of Central Park on Wednesday.
On Wednesday evening a hawk was on the NE flagpole of the Plaza Hotel. I've been seeing this hawk a great deal recently, but other than seeing it around The Pond I don't know much about it.
I stopped by Central Park's Pond on my way home. The Pond is located just north of the Plaza Hotel at the south east end of the park. The usual suspects were there, including a Wood Duck, a Black-crowned Night Heron, Mallards and Canada Geese, plus the hundreds of Common Grackles coming home to roost in the trees surrounding the Pulitzer Fountain of Grand Army Plaza.
What I didn't expect to find were two Eastern-Red Bats feeding at around 6 p.m. Usually, I need to rely on my Echo Meter Touch to identify my bats, but these were clearly Eastern-Red Bats just by watching them. I did my best to get some pictures without flash in the low light.
After sunset, a Red-tailed Hawk flew around the Pond and the buildings on Central Park South. I suspect one of the adults we saw bringing nesting materials to Crown Building earlier this year. These hawks continue to be a mystery, but it was good to see they're still around.
I finally had time to go out to Randalls Island and see this year's nest. There seem to be two eyasses this year. The nest is in the lights of Field 10, just north of the stadium.
On the fourth floor level of the fire escape on a building on the northwest corner of 96th and Lexington Avenue, there is a new hawk nest. The female was brooding when I arrived and the male was briefly on a water tank before flying out of view. I stayed until after sunset, but didn't see a nest exchange between the two hawks.
On Saturday afternoon, I walked for about five miles through Central Park. I was able to add three more birds to my 2018 Manhattan list, a Ring-Necked Duck (female at the North Gate House of the Reservoir), a Great Cormorant (on the dike in the middle of the Reservoir, a rare visitor to Central Park, but seen frequently off Randalls Island in the winter) and an immature Cooper's Hawk.
The Cooper's Hawk was exploring the Loch, a waterway with three waterfalls that flows under the Glen Span and Huddlestone arches from The Pool to the Harlem Meer. It has recently been restored by the Central Park Conservancy. The restoration carefully reshaped the waterway, to provide a mix of currents and depths designed to maximize biodiversity, with the help of a environmental consulting company. Improved landscaping was also added to minimize erosion and run offs from the North Meadow Ball Fields. I'm looking forward to seeing the biodiversity results in a few years.
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.
I finally had a chance to get up to J. Hood Wright Park and found the mother doing her best to keep her eyasses out of the sun. After the sun got lower, she took a break. The nest has three eyasses this year.
Our Central Park West Pair, who last year lost an egg from the San Remo, are bringing twigs to the building again. They haven't done well at nesting over the last few years, so my expectations are limited for this pair.
I finally got up to CCNY to find two hawks hanging out and not brooding. What was interesting was one was young, less than a year old, with a brown tail. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this nest in 2017 or if we'll need to wait until 2018?
I got a text from Ranger Rob Mastrianni today saying that the J. Hood Wright Park nest had four eyasses in their nest. That's very, very rare. So, I took the A train up to 175th Street and took a look this evening. I got to see all four of them. It's a good thing I went today, since one of them looks ready to leave nest.
I love these surprises. When the eyasses were younger most folks could only tell that there were one or two eyasses on the nest.
Although we can't see the eyasses yet, frequent trips off the nest by the female, flies, what look like feedings and the male bringing in food, make it clear the nest has hatched. Nice to see a young couple with a new nest be successful. Between this nest, the Grant's Tomb nest and the Peregrine Falcons on Riverside Church this should be a fun area to watch. And St. John the Divine is also a short walk away!
As many of you know, a female hawk died in the Chinatown/City Hall area earlier this season. The necropsy results for the bird has come back, with a verdict of "Poisoning - Anticoagulant rodenticide". Laura Goggin reports on her blog that the male has found a new mate but poisoning continues near where the pair have decided to nest. This means we could easily have another hawk death, just like the first if no action is taken.
Please take a few minutes to read Laura's latest report and if you have time write a polite letter to the City Council member for the area. Details are on Laura's blog.
With better weather, I got to see a nest exchange and both hawks of the 96th Street pair today. Both hawks look great. It was the first time I got a good look at the male.
I look forward to learning about this pair over the next few months. It should be a fun summer in Central Park.
Central Park has a new nest at 8 East 96th Street, on the 11th Floor, on an air conditioner in the second window from Fifth Avenue. It's technically not in the park but outside it by about 100 yards. This pair had laid an egg on 98th Street earlier in the season, and I had given up on them, assuming they were too inexperienced to get their act together this year. So, news of the new location via the NYU nest chat room community was a great surprise.
One of the few nests I hadn't seen a report about was the nest at the CCNY uptown campus on the Shepard Hall building. The female was sitting on the nest when I arrived and the male gave her a brief break. Manhattan is going to have lots of hatching nests by mid to late April!
Central Park was delightful this afternoon. After visiting the reservoir to see the Ring Necked Duck that's been hanging around the southeast corner, I found a Peregrine Falcon perched on the south tower of The Eldorado.
Soon after, I found a Red-tailed Hawk in the Pinetum, who was joined by a second hawk. They circled over Seneca Village before moving out of sight.
My last bird of the day was the Great Horned Owl that has now been in the park for three weeks.
I explored the north end of the park today. During a brief rainstorm, I got to photograph a hawk at the eastern side of the North Meadow. Later this same hawk circled the Recreation Center a few times and then gained altitude. It started to get harassed by Chimney Swifts, so it went even higher until it was hard to see. It then dived and quickly moved northwest towards Morningside Park.
On Sunday, I didn't see any of our "regular" hawks in Central Park. Only this adult with lightly colored eyes in the Ramble.
On Shepard Hall at CCNY's northern campus is a nest that frustrates many hawk watchers. It's hard to photograph and very unpredictable. This year it has two of the oldest eyasses in the city. Their parents must have started early.
Winter brings a lot of juvenile Red-tailed Hawks into Central Park. This one looked great in the sunny weather on Sunday.
In the morning, I visited Randall's Island nest. I couldn't see any sign of hawks, but if they've gone back to the old nest, the female can hide fairly well. There's also a good chance that the pair moved, given the Peregrine Falcon nest nearby.
I then went to Tompkins Square Park, which is still a few days from hatching. Both hawks there looked healthy. Locals estimate the hatch date to be May 10th.
Then it was off to Washington Square to see how things were going. As usual, they continue to grow bigger and bigger. They can stand briefly and feather shafts are visable on their wings.
In northern Manhattan is a nest on Shepard Hall on the CCNY campus. I hadn't heard any news about the nest, so I went up to see it on Friday. Like the St. John the Divine nest, it's high up and difficult to get a good read on what's happening early in the season.
From the parents behavior, it sure looks like it's hatched. I couldn't see any eyasses, nor did I have time to wait for a feeding, but no parent would be sitting so high on a nest or leaving it unattended as long as they did if it hadn't hatched.
For the last few weeks I've been keeping track of a new Red-tailed Hawk pair in Sheep Meadow of Central Park. Most of us who knew about the pair decided to keep them under the radar while they got established. But a photograph was recently showed on the palemale.com site, so now that the secrets out I think it's reasonable to share some photographs.
My quest to find the nest of the pair of hawks that have been seen on upper Fifth Avenue came up empty again. While I was in the Consevatory Garden, I saw a Red-tail circle around the garden with a pigeon in its tallons. The hawk then took the bird to the roof of the El Museo del Barrio.
After a few minutes, the Red-tailed Hawk flew off in the direction of the Academy of Medicine, and disappeared. Searches of the ledges of the building came up empty.
A hawk was on the Beresford Apartments tonight, just like last night. I'm feeling this bird wasn't Pale Male, but still can't be sure. At this point, it's a mystery for me. The bird stayed on top of the north tower until 7:30 p.m., then went to the west tower before diving down quickly off the tower. A possibility is that I'm seeing the male, but just haven't found the now brooding female.
I've received reports from three different people that a pair of hawks was building a nest on the Bersesford Apartments. I went last night and saw a single hawk, which could have been Pale Male on top of the building.
So, right now I'm confused about what's going on. Either the hawks started to build the nest and Pale Male chased them away or one of the new hawks has similar markings to Pale Male. This is going to take some return visits to figure out.
After posting my scorecard for the year, I got an email that hawks were again being spotted on the El Dorado with nesting materials. I spotted one Red-tail on the El Dorado this evening, but didn't see its mate. Hopefully this year will turn out better than last year when construction workers destroyed the nest just as the female was laying eggs.
Sunday was as warm as Saturday, making it enjoyable to walk around Central Park. I started up north, and saw a Brown Trasher by the Pool, my 57th bird in Manhattan for the year.
While in the Conservancy Garden, I saw a Red-tail perch on the roofs of the Cardinal Cooke Heath Care Center and El Museo del Barrio.
Then after a walk to the middle of the park, I had two Long-eared Owls. A nice relaxing afternoon on Superbowl Sunday.
I finally caught up with NJ 30, the banded hawk which may have been one of the juveniles from the Washington Square nest, in Battery Park today. It was great to see the hawk.
After loosing track of it, but finding the park's Wild Turkey and an American Kestrel, I saw two Red-tailed hawks high in the sky. It was hard to tell if they were friend or foe and I couldn't tell if one of the hawks was NJ30. But it was good to see that the area had more than just one Red-tail.
A quick ride on the A Train to 145th Street and a short walk through a wonderful area of restored Brownstones brings you to Shepard Hall on the uptown C.C.N.Y. campus. This year there are two eyasses on the nest.
This Gothic building yields another wonderful nest location in Manhattan. For more detailed information and photographs of this nest, see The Origin of the Species blog.
At the base of the Astoria Queens side of the RFK Bridge is an established nest of Red-tailed Hawks. It's one of the easiest nests to watch in the city and this year has at least two eyasses.
On the Northeast light post of the soccer field north of Icahn Stadium is the 2013 Randalls Island Red-tailed Hawk nest. The female of the nest was sitting on the eggs. She sat low on the nest and when she settled in after getting in did the back and forth wiggle a brooding mother does.
So, I don't thing we've had a hatch yet out on Randalls Island.
The pair that has been trying to build a safely located nest on Central Park West has found a new nest location on top of an air conditioner on between 87th and 88th Street.
A second clutch is unusual for Red-tailed Hawks, although we have seen it in the city before. It will be interesting to see if this pair attempts one this year.
Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center is at 106th and Fifth Avenue. This winter I've frequently seen a hawk on top of the building. I didn't think much of it, since we usually have a few wintering hawks in the north part of the park.
Today, I was surprised to see not one but two hawks on the building. Before I could get my camera out, the male flew off, circled the hill with the compost heap, and returned to the building and copulated with the female.
My first thought was these could be the Central Park West hawks? But both seem lighter both in eye color and in chest banding. The couple looks young. Anyone seen nest building on upper Fifth Avenue?