Another Day with the Cedar Waxwings
I took more photos of the Cedar Waxwings today. It's an easy nest to watch, although it requires some patience as the feedings can be more than half an hour apart.
I took more photos of the Cedar Waxwings today. It's an easy nest to watch, although it requires some patience as the feedings can be more than half an hour apart.
I've gone a few times to look for the West End Avenue Red-tailed Hawk fledglings, but have been unable to find them on my last visits.
So, I spent time in Central Park today. At the north end of Strawberry Field in a Black Locust tree which is in the steep slope between the end of the chip path and the road, is a Cedar Waxwing nest. It appears to have two birds in the nest. I saw them and both the parents today. The feedings took place about 30 minutes apart, so the nest requires some patience if you're going to watch it. This is the first time I've seen a Cedar Waxwing nest in the park.
The action I saw today, was a parent and a fledgling, up and down West End Avenue from 70th to 76th Street, on building on both the west and east side of the street. I believe the fledgling I was watching was the second one to leave the nest.
The young fledglings and their father spent time on 310 West 72nd Street, 263 West End Avenue, the rear of 269 West 72 Street, the rear of 253 72 Street, and 253 West 73rd Street while I watched them this evening.
The parents and fledglings may still be using the nest for feedings, because I keep seeing the fledglings return to the nest.
The real fun of the evening was to see the fledglings cross West End Avenue and end up on the rear of 253 72 Street. A pair of Northern Mockingbirds and later a pair of Blue Jays, started to harass one of the fledgling. The father quickly came in and allowed himself to be attacked and pulled the attacking birds away from the fledgling. I've seen this behavior at lots of nests, and I enjoy watching the protective instincts of the parents.
Just like yesterday, the eyasses look healthy and seem to have enough experience flying and landing that they should do well when the parents bring them to trees and lawns nearby. The real question is, will it be the Lincoln Towers area or Riverside Park.
Things started slowly on 72nd Street. One parent was high up on 220 Riverside Boulevard and I saw a parent on 70th Street, east of West End Avenue and then at the bottom of Riverside Drive. But no fledglings.
Then out of the blue, one of them was on the ledge where the nest is. I thought, I know both of them have fledged. Was I wrong? It didn't take long to find out the answer. The fledgling had only made a brief stop on the nest and it made a strong flight across the street.
When I turned the corner to see where it went, both fledglings were on 263 West End Avenue, which is on the NW corner of 72nd Street and West End Avenue.
For over 30 minutes the two hawks explored the terraces and balconies of the East and South facades of the building.
In all my years trying to study these hawks, this is the first time I've seen a fledgling at this nest!
Some nice reports this week:
While not confirmed, the Inwood Hill nest must have fledged by now. I just don't have any information.
I wasn't able to find the fledglings from 310 West 72nd Street, but I did see both of the parents on top of 220 Riverside Boulevard. They were being harassed by two Northern Mockingbirds that have a nest on a penthouse at 71st and West End Avenue. The rotation of songs sung by one of the Northern Mockingbirds includes an American Kestrel call which confused me to no end until I figured out who was singing it.
I suspect the two fledglings are on top of the roofs of be buildings near the nest.
From my perspective, there still seems to be an eyass that hasn't fledged yet on 72nd Street, but it isn't clear if it might have left briefly and then returned. In any case, it was hidden on Friday afternoon, but appeared after a parent landed on the building's water tank.
I also heard the fledgling cry from one of the nearby building roofs briefly. So, I think everyone is accounted for after yesterday's big adventure.
This has got to be the hardest nest in Manhattan to follow, but it's been fun to have something to study it this year!
I didn't witness any of the excitement of the day, but I sure heard about it!
The bird that had been using the roofs of buildings on the two blocks near the nest, learning who to land and explore, decided to go over to 205 West End Drive. Mid-morning it landed on a car, had troubles landing in a tree and it was "rescued" by folks thinking the bird was going to get into traffic.
In general, you should only intervene after getting permission for a licensed rehabbed. Too many birds get "rescued" and then have to be returned to their parents. When in doubt, call your local Audubon Society or local rehabber before taking any action. Many birds get hurt by being handled by inexperienced "do gooders".
Luckily, the Wild Bird Fund, where the bird ended up, returned it to 31o West 72nd Street in the early afternoon, and the parents quickly came to be with the fledgling. So, with one bird on the nest still, everyone was accounted for.
It looks like the parents are looking to entice the fledglings into the gardens of the Lincoln Tower buildings. There is lots of green space, tons of food and the area has lots of traffic free lawns. I'm always surprised by where hawks bring their fledglings. I would have assumed Riverside Park was the destination for these young hawks.
On Wednesday evening, the eyass remaining on the nest was only being seen briefly and stayed for the most part on the nest on the eastern side of the gutter. One of the parents was seen on a building at 70th and Riverside Blvd.
While waiting for activity on the 72nd Street nest, I saw this House Sparrow nest behind an air conditioning vent. Four hungry mouths to feed.
Only one eyass remained on the nest today. From the parents behavior, the other one may have been on the roof of the building. The parents made some very tight circles over the roof, typical of parents checking on a fledgling. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
I tried my luck again at the 310 West 72nd Street nest and wasn't disappointed. After about twenty minutes of nothing, as the afternoon temperature started to drop, the mother arrived at the nest and the two eyasses woke up. She helped them eat and left. The eyasses then were active for about twenty minutes.
I made another visit to 310 West 72nd Street. The eyasses look great. I thought there were three, but it might be only two on the nest. While recording, a local showed me pictures of a fledgling from last year who showed up on her terrace last year. She was stunned to hear it was a youngster.
These young hawks should be leaving the nest soon. There tails are a bit short, but they should grow in within a few days. It will be great to have some young hawks in Riverside Park this year.
Some good news.
Just when it seemed that 2020 would be a poor year, yet another report of a new hawk nest has been reported. The newly discovered nest is at 1516 Amsterdam Avenue at 135th Street. Fantastic news.
For the third year, the 310 West 72nd Street is active. I think there are three eyasses this year. It's a tough nest to watch as it is in a fairly wide rain gutter just below the roof line on the east side of the north face of the building. An adult visited twice. "Trash" was taken out around 3:30, followed later by a feeding around 4:45 p.m.
Thanks to a photo from someone who lives in the building where the nest on 72nd Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, the nest is active with three eyasses. I confirmed the nest was active this afternoon.
I was happy to receive a report from Randalls Island. The nest is active with three eyasses. Great news with the failures of nests around Central Park.
It continues to be difficult to cover Manhattan, but news is coming in about some nests.
I saw my first European Goldfinch today in Central Park. An introduced bird in North America, it is becoming more and more established.
I had to ask a WhatsApp group I'm in to figure it out. Luckily, folks forgave my ignorance and I got an answer within a minute.
There are scores of American Robin nests in Central Park currently. Some nests have already produced fledglings. I caught up with one nest on the Point a small peninsula that juts out in the Central Park Lake. Both parents were actively feeding the three young robins.
It has been very hard this year to get details of the Manhattan nests. I'm not traveling by public transportation, so I can only report first hand on the nests I can walk to from my home. But I do have some news:
The "regular birders" have been very good about social distancing in the Ramble. Many of us live around the park, and we use the park to get our daily exercise while also bird watching. We keep our distance from one another and find areas of the park that are sparsely used to explore.
However, today a Yellow-breasted Chat created a large crowd with many photographers and birders, jockeying for position to get a look and possibly a shot of the bird. Social Distancing went out the window for an attractive but not all that rare a bird. A park employee reminded everyone to practice social distancing, but the crowd quickly regathered.
I didn't know most of the people in the crowd. Early May attracts birders who don't normally bird Central Park. They come with the migrants.
Even with masks and staying six feet apart, a crowd of twenty to thirty people is a perfect place, even outdoors for the COVID-19 virus to disperse. But many of the observers were right on top of each other. It was like a paparazzi scrum, fighting to get a shot of a member of the royal family. Folks, it was just a Chat!
As birders, we should believe in science and follow social distancing guidelines. No bird is worth risking your health or your families. Please don't do this.
I've been hoping to see signs that the 350 Central Park West has hatched over the last week. I made three visits, but came up empty each time. I thought they should have hatched my now and I would have seen a feeding by now, but I'm a bit confused about when brooding started.
Frederic Lilien has generously made his film The Legend of Pale Male available to watch for free during the Covid-19 outbreak. Enjoy the film!
The San Remo pair was working on the nest that just seems to blow away this afternoon. They are so late. One Manhattan nest has already hatched and may are due soon. We'll see what happens.
I'm not certain of the timing, but I think due for a hatch at 350 Central Park West within the next week. I went up today and saw the male bring a squirrel and took over incubation duties, so the female could eat and explore. I didn't see any signs of a feeding, so I don't think the nest has hatched yet. It's a long hike for me to visit the next, but I'll make another visit at the end of the week.
An Eastern Red Bat has been roosting in the same bush for a few days in Central Park. Tonight I stayed to watch it wake up. The video is a bit long, but it's fascinating to see the bat slowly wake up. It ended up flying right over my head when it left.
Pale Male and Octavia continue to show me how dull it is to watch a brooding nest. Not much happens when I'm there. I have hours of the same footage. But here's some more of the same!
It will be interesting to see if the eggs hatch this year. Low levels of rodenticides may led to infertility. If this year's eggs don't had, should we worry that Octavia has repeated the problems Lola had?
While walking through Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan (59th and Fifth), I heard the male crying that he had food. I couldn't find him, but heard him on the The Plaza Hotel. He went down 58th and around the corner down Fifth, circling before landing on the roof of Bergdorf Goodman's. He then circled and circled before landing on a very high building roof at 55th and Fifth. He left the pigeon there before spending about ten minutes circling 9 West 57th.
I haven't seen the female for about a week. Where, oh where is the nest!
The San Remo pair, after building a great nest on The Majestic Apartments a few blocks south, have returned to building a nest in the old location on the north tower of the San Remo. As usual, the twigs brought up to this location blow off before a full nest can be built.
Governor's Island will remain closed in May, so it will be hard to figure out what's happening on the newly built nest.
A Belted Kingfisher was on the shore of The Pond in Central Park on Wednesday. I caught up with it while it was eating a fish. It took a lot of work to swallow the fish!
My daily social distancing walk took me around the southern areas of Central Park. I first caught up with the two hawks around Grand Army Plaza. One was on 9 West 57th and the other on a perch I just discovered, 520 Park Avenue (which is really 42 East 60th).
I then saw both of the San Remo hawks on the San Remo. The nest on The Majestic look big enough to stop an egg from rolling off, but it still isn't built properly.
Lastly, I saw and filmed Octavia leave the nest and Pale Male take over incubating duties. Sorry about the poor video, the wind was bouncing my camera around.
I found a good vantage point to watch Octavia incubate her eggs, off the beaten track so I can safely practice social distancing. Nothing much happened while I watched her for about an hour.
There have been hawks for years around Central Park South. They've nested on the Trump Parc building and 888 Seventh Avenue with success. Over the last few years, the Crown Building and the Plaza Hotel a bit further east have been where we thought there might be nests, but haven't been sure.
Today, I caught up with the current pair. I heard the male, who looks young, cry out the "Honey, I have leftovers" call. (She never responded.) With the city being so quiet, I was able to find him on a third floor window of The Plaza Hotel. He finished eating, and then started to attack his own reflection in the window, before getting caught in some pigeon spikes and then flying off.
He then made a number of loops around Grand Army Plaza, and perched on The Crown Building, the building at 58th and Fifth that has the Bergdorf's Mens Store, and 9 West 57th. The female was perched there. They both took off, but returned to 9 West 57th and copulated.
Like the last few years, no clue about the possible nest location.
In the fog, I was able to watch the 350 Central Park nest and confirm the pair is brooding. The nest seems better built than the last two years, and offers more protection. I had to watch from between 96th and 97th Streets on Central Park West to see her. Being so far way means camera shake and atmospheric distortion, but I was able to see the female brooding.
I caught up with the 927 Fifth Avenue nest as Octavia had returned and Pale Male was leaving the nest.
The background music is from an Accordion player, illegally using an amplifier to totally dominate the Model Boat Pond area. Sadly, the COVID-19 outbreak is being used by many, mostly affluent park users to flaunt the park regulations. There are hundreds of off leash dogs, bikes illegally on paths, dogs in the lakes and ponds, people jumping fences damaging the landscapes and motorized scooters in the park now. While I expected some break down of the social order due to COVID-19, I wasn't expecting it to start with the most affluent New Yorkers.
On Thursday, I got to see another twig delivery to the Majestic Apartments. The nest building should have been done weeks ago, so it will interesting to see how things turn out this year.
Just catching up with posts. This was from Sunday. Octavia can be seen on the 927 Fifth Avenue nest from Pilgrim Hill if you stand in exactly the right place.
Sadly, the female of the Washington Square Park nest disappeared sometime in the late morning on Thursday and hasn't been seen since. The nest has been abandoned.
My thoughts go out to all of those folks who watched the live camera feed. I know for many folks isolated in their apartments it had been a blessing.
The female is presumed dead. There is a very small chance she is injured or trapped somewhere, but it is unlikely. NYU staff have checked nearby roofs.
This will most likely be the last chart for awhile. The COVID-19 crisis is making it difficult to continue reporting.
Since the last update:
For all of us staying at home, Laura Goggin, made a nice summary of web cameras on her blog. It should help many of us with cabin fever.
A sleeping Easter Red Bat in Central Park's Ramble today, in a bush at eye level. Great find by Janet Wagner.
Octavia has been sitting on the nest for at least the last few days. She's very hard to see when she's on the nest. I got some brief glimpses of her this afternoon.
Peter Post emailed me that there has been Red-tailed Hawk nest building activity on the The Majestic Apartments this week, at 72nd and Central Park West. This is most likely the San Remo pair. They are nesting on the eastern face of the north tower, two floor of windows down from the top, just left of center.
While on my social distancing complaint, mental health walk today, I was able to photograph them briefly.
In addition to this news, I received a note from Jessica Ancker up in Inwood that that pair is brooding.