Thanks to the work of NYC Audubon and its partners, two piers on the Eastern shore of Governors Island have become a flourishing Common Tern nesting site. Currently, there are lots of chicks running around on the piers, and if you're patient you can watch them get fed. If you're interested in the terns, NYC Audubon with its partners is hosting the Sixth Annual "It's Your Tern!" Festival on July 13th from Noon until 4 p.m. on the island. Details are on the NYC Audubon website. (If you take the ferry before noon on the weekends, it's free.)
The Governors Island Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron nest quintuplets were easier to count today, with all five showing together often. They all engaged in Gular Fluttering together to cool down in the hot weather at one point too. They were fun to watch. I've learned that in most years the number of young in the Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron nests on Governors Island have been lower, so five is unusual for the island.
Governors Island has hosted Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron nests over the last few years. This year the island has one successful nest with five chicks.
What was interesting to observe today was two immature birds hanging around the nest. One immature bird was on a branch near the nest when I arrived and another was on the nest. When a mature adult arrived later, the immature bird left the nest and the adult fed the young by regurgitating into the middle of the nest.
The fledgling explored the southern side of the Cathedral this afternoon. When I arrived I found the fledgling above St. James the Less with fuller's club (indicating manner of his martyrdom), and St. Philip with Latin cross (symbol of his crucifixion). The fledgling then took a bath in a gutter. Soon afterwards it flew to a decorative spire in the gardens. When it saw a parent, it flew back to the Cathedral before flying to the south tower. Later it flew back to the rear of the church. It was nice to see the fledgling doing so well.
The fledgling that has just been returned to the Washington Square Park was seen around 4th Street and Mercer most of the day. The earliest report I saw was 10 am and there was a report it roosted in a tree there tonight. It was on the ground briefly at 3 pm, which caused some alarm.
I arrived around 4 pm, and first saw the new male, and then the mother, on a building a between Broadway and Mercer about 20 stories up. Then some American Robins alerted me to where the fledgling was, on a street lamp, tucked inside a tree. After about an hour the fledgling started branching on the tree to a more comfortable spot. By then both adults were nowhere to be seen.
The fledgling found in a light well behind 15 Washington Place, was returned to Washington Square Park today. Bobby Horvath and Cathy St. Pierre took great care of it at WINORR. It was banded on the right leg. (The previously released bird was banded on the left leg.)
The released bird was very energetic, moving quickly from branch to branch, before changing trees. It then flew a full block south to 3rd Street. I had to leave the park around 1:30.
The Rogerpaw.com blog has coverage of what happened later in the day. It will be interesting to see how things work out over the next few days.
The nest in Fort Washington has fledged. I believe there were three fledglings, but I'm not 100% sure. The only nest that I don't have a report for is the 72nd Street nest.
It looks like 2019 was an especially poor year for Red-tailed Hawks in Manhattan. Let's hope 2020 does better.
I looked for the Washington Square Park fledgling near where it was last seen on Wednesday. I didn't find the fledgling but saw an adult circling a building at Greenwich Avenue and Bank Street. The hawk perched on a few buildings before landing on the roof with prey. I jumped out of view and I could not relocate it. The hawk looked similar to the new male, but didn't have any missing wing feathers. So, I left more confused then when I arrived. Not what I was hoping for! In the cell phone photos, the hawk is by the center pipe in the rear of the roof.
This year is turning out to be a dangerous year for Red-tailed Hawks in Manhattan.
- Both eyasses fledged at St. John. One got into trouble and looks to have some head trauma. It is in rehab at WINORR.
- The mother of the 350 Central Park West nest was found on the ground in the park. It was rescued but died in treatment.
- The building at 100th and Third and the eyasses removed from the fire escape. They went to the Raptor Trust via the Wild Bird Fund.
I went up to St. John the Divine this afternoon to see how things were going with the fledglings. One was above St. James and the mother on Angel Gabriel. I photographed them and then made my way up to the Cathedral from Manhattan Avenue. I was surprised to see an Urban Park Ranger car. It turns out that one of the fledglings was on the ground just to the NE of the Cathedral in a driveway. Sergeant Ranger Rob Mastrianni netted the bird, did a brief inspection of the bird and took it off to a rehabber for further inspection. If it checks out OK, it will be returned to the area.
Even though it was raining I had a great time at the Cathedral on Wednesday. One of the eyasses flew from the nest (above St. Peter) to above St. James around 4:30. The mother had been feeding and one of the eyasses just decided to fly 30 feet to the south on the church. I left as it started to rain again but you pick up the rest of the evenings action on the Morningside Hawks blog.
Between rain showers, I visited the Warbling Vireo Nest and tired taking some slow motion video. It didn't quite work out in the low light but you can see some feedings. The nestlings are much more visible now.
While I didn't see it on Tuesday, it appeared that the Washington Square Park fledgling was somewhere near Sixth Avenue and 8th Street. The new adult male was going between a building on the park and the Jefferson Market Library. On Wednesday, the woman behind the Rogerpaw.com blog found the fledgling two blocks further NW on the site of the old St. Vincent's hospital.
Both Inwood Hill Park and Randalls Island nests have fledged. The nests that haven't yet fledged should do so this week, if they haven't already done so. I've been spending time down at Washington Square Park between rain showers. Any updates would be appreciated.
A female hawk that was ill and could not fly was picked up in Central Park last week around 100th Street. It is most likely the female from the 350 Central Park nest. She is now at WINORR.
The Washington Square Park fledgling that was found on the sidewalk at Bond and Broadway, was returned to Washington Square Park by WINORR on Sunday. Bobby Horvath removed the bird from the carrier and Cathy St. Pierre put the bird in a tree located in the southeast corner of the park. It branched and gained height with ease.
After about 30 minutes, the new adult male came in and chased the fledgling to Washington Square North. The fledgling got caught in some netting, but freed itself without issue. The bird stayed at the construction site for a few hours, with the male checking in occasionally. It had some fun interactions with a squirrel. At some point the bird went west, ending up on a tree at Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North. It moved trees, and then went to window ledges of Two Fifth Avenue.
At some point the fledgling moved to a balcony of Two Fifth. The new adult male was on top of One Fifth at this point being bothered by an American Kestrel. After about 20 minutes, the male came down quickly from One Fifth, pushing the fledgling from the balcony railing to the terrace and fought with the fledgling. I then saw the new adult male go up to the balcony railing. I could not relocate the fledgling after this.
I didn't see the mother at any time in the afternoon.
Later that day, another one of the Washington Square Park fledgling was rescued from a light shaft behind 15 Washington Place. Photographs are on the WINORR Facebook page. So, we now have two birds with rehabbers, since there is still a bird, that was found on the sidewalk in front of 10 Washington Place, at the Wild Bird Fund.
The Warbling Vireo nest I've been watching in Central Park has now hatched. If you watch closely at the video, you'll see that when the parents feed the chicks, the chicks sometimes turn around and give back to the parents a fecal sack. I guess what goes in, must at some point come back out.
I was walking down Mercer and at 3rd Street heard Bluejays calling at Broadway and walked over. I ran into the woman behind the Rogerpaw.com blog, who had seen an adult high on a building. I then saw the new male on a streetlamp down Broadway. We then saw a crowd in front of the Face Gym. There was a fledgling on the ground. While the woman behind the Rogerpaw.com blog called Bobby Horvath, I called Ranger Sargent Rob Mastrianni. Both of them gave us the same advice. Put the fledgling in a cardboard box and wait for help.
I trash picked and found a box. The bird was placed in the box and we waited. While we waited, both adults kept watch, changing perches every so often. The mother had prey.
Ranger Rob arrived, transferred the bird to an animal carrier, and took the bird off to be examined.
An exciting day. I gave up drinking for June, but I think I'm having a martini tonight.
This means two of the three fledglings are in rehabilitation with one fledgling still in the greater Washington Square Park area.
I caught up with one of the Washington Square Park fledglings at 3rd Street and Broadway with the help of some American Robins, who were not happy to have a predator in their neighborhood. Their alarm calls helped me find the youngster on Hayden Hall.
The fledgling I saw looked well fed, and was doing a good job of maneuvering between various building locations.
The map below details sightings for the day:
- Hayden Hall window sills and a nearby tree at 3rd Street and Broadway
- A ledge across 3rd Street
- Hayden Hall's Roof
- Education Building Flagpole (mother) and roof (new male)
- Building on Mercer Street and Washington Place, where a fledgling was sighted earlier in the day and where the mother perched
- Air conditioner where mother first brought a pigeon and then used as a perch
For context, N. is the nest location and P. the Pless Building roof.
Updates about Tompkins and Washington Square Parks:
- The second eyass at Tompkins Square Park has died. High levels of lead are suspected. The bird has been sent to the state for testing.
- The third Washington Square Park eyass fledged. One of the fledglings was found this morning (Wednesday, 6/12/19) in front of 10 Washington Place. The bird is now with the Wild Bird Fund. The bird is fine and without injury. Pictures are on the Wild Bird Fund Facebook page. (For those unfamiliar with the rehabilitation of Red-tailed Hawks, there is no rush to return a very young fledgling. It is common for a rehabber to feed a new fledgling, and let it grow and gain muscle mass for a few days before returning it. There is little to no risk a parent won't recognize it when it is returned up to a week later.)
The aggressive behavior of the new male has been a concern since two of the fledglings were pushed of the Washington Square Park nest. Having arrived at the nest very late in the nesting period, the new male seems to view the young hawks as competitors rather than young to protect and raise. So the behavior I saw today was comforting. For the most part he left they eyasses along, except when they were brought food by the mother. Then from what I saw, he would got close to a fledgling, but the mother would intervene and he would back off.
So, while not ideal, his confusion does not look like it is putting the fledglings at risk right now. That's comforting. While I'd like to be an impartial observer and let nature take its course, I really would like to see fledglings to do well this season.
I visited Washington Square Park twice, once in the early afternoon and once in the late afternoon until dark.
In the early afternoon, I saw one of the fledglings on the western side of the park in a London Plane tree. It was most likely the second fledgling. She looked healthy and made soft cries, something you would expect from a fledgling at this age. The male was initially on 2 Fifth Avenue with the mother on 1 Fifth Avenue. Later he joined her on 1 Fifth Avenue.
In the late afternoon, I couldn't relocate the fledgling who had been the London Plane. (This is fairly normal. During normal years, where both parents survive, you commonly only get to find only one or two of the fledglings on a visit to the park.)
After feeling like I wasn't going to see a fledgling in the afternoon, the mother was spotted bringing a pigeon to a fledgling on the Shimkin building. It is the same corner as the Library where the nest is and also shares the corner with Goddard Hall, one of the buildings where two of the fledglings have been using the roofs.
The fledgling got to eat alone and in peace for a long period of time. After it was done eating, the male was aggressive twice. The mother intervened, and everything was fine.
The mother eat some of the leftover pigeon, and brought it to the Pless roof, where we think it was given to another fledgling. (We had heard one cry from the roof, when the first one was brought the pigeon initially.)
Shimkin's windows have fishing line at the window ledges to prevent pigeons from perching on the building. One year a fledgling got caught in the for about half an hour. Luckily, this fledgling did not get caught in them today. If you have a high resolution monitor you'll see them in the video.
So for now, it looks like the confused behavior of the male, which right now only seems to be triggered when he sees a fledgling with food, appears that it will not prevent the fledglings from getting fed. While not ideal, it looks like the situation will be manageable by the mother.