There wasn't much action at the nest late this afternoon. I only saw one eyass and and a brief visit by the mother.
The nest was very active with both parents in view this evening. One this visit and on my last, I only saw to eyasses, so there is a chance we lost the third. This nest has done a good job hiding young in the past, so I don't know for sure.
The parents spent time on St. Luke's Hospital and on the Archangel Gabrielle tonight.
The action was slow at St. John when I visited on Sunday. The cold weather must have had the kids cuddled up together to keep warm. They were briefly active when the mother came in to feed them.
After the sad news about Riverside on Saturday, I've heard two bits of good news this weekend. Robert Schmunk reports that the Highbridge nest safely made it through the winds. In addition, Jessica S. Ancker reports that after loosing their eggs to a nest failure in April, the Inwood Hill pair seems to be nesting again with a due date of mid-May.
The kids at St. John the Divine are getting really mobile. They're moving about and can climb around the nest now. They're so damn cute!
On Saturday, we finally got to see the eyasses at St. John the Divine and there are three. It still takes some patience to see them, but they're adorable. It's good to see this nest site back to normal after the roof construction.
The video shows all three the best.
Watching the St. John the Divine nest can be frustrating this time of year. We know the eyasses have hatched but they are too small to see.
While the feedings are the true sign the kids are there, I always know because the mother never white washes St. Andrew but the kids do!
Manhattan's hawk watchers are running all around the island hoping to see the first eyasses of spring. Although there are hopeful signs at the Cathedral, none have been sighted yet. I visited the Riverside, Cathedral and Fifth Avenue nests on Saturday.
Hawk watching during nesting season can be very slow. On Saturday afternoon, I watched the St. John the Divine nest for over two hours. I only saw the female for a few minutes while she rearranged her eggs. There was no sign of her mate during the two hours.
I spent the early evening on the east slope of the Great Hill (NW Central Park), following up reports of a sighting of owls there four days ago. It was slow going with no owls in sight and fairly quiet. My best bird was a very vocal Carolina Wren.
When dusk arrived, a young Red-tailed hawk landed in a Great Hill tree, and then stayed for a few minutes. It took off and made the begging sound young Red-tails make. I followed it to the West Drive, where I saw one hawk leaving (a parent?), and a hawk perched (the fledgling?), who then flew off back towards the Great Hill.
I was able to watch it circle the hill, and then head north. I can't be 100% certain but there's an excellent chance the young hawk was the healthy Cathedral fledgling. (The other Cathedral fledgling had lead poisoning and has a lame foot.)
One of the fledglings got itself into trouble and was taken to the Animal Medical Center. It has lead poisoning and a lame foot. It is now in the Horvath's care.
I searched Morningside park for other fledgling, worrying about its health. I gave up, and as I walked east on 110th Street, I heard someone call my name. It was Lincoln Karim, who had an adult and a fledgling in view on different buildings. The adult was at 108th and Manhattan Avenue and the fledgling was on the lower roof of the building at the NW corner of 110th and Fredrick Douglas Boulevard.
After about fifteen minutes, the fledgling got up, and flew to Central Park. We could hear the robins and jays mobbing the fledgling, but couldn't find it. At dusk, with almost no light, Lincoln found the hawk. He had put his camera away, but was very kind to point mine at the hawk. I couldn't find it on my own.
So, tonight Central Park has a fledgling Red-tailed Hawk!
I made brief visits to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on Saturday and Sunday. The whole family seems to be doing well. The kids are enjoying the scaffolding, and on Sunday the parents spent time on statue of the Archangel Gabriel.
Although I'm sure the sibling and the parents were around, we could only find one of the fledglings this evening. It was near the nest moving above and beside it.
Between and during the thunder storms, I was able to watch a parent and one of the fledglings up at the Cathedral tonight. We could hear begging from what might have been the second fledgling from one of the chapel roofs, but it was hard to be sure.
One thing I do know for sure, this is a beautiful place to take photographs.
I was in Connecticut when all the action happened. Stella Hamilton reports that this afternoon around 4:45 and then again at 5:30 p.m., fledges occurred at St. John the Divine. This empties the nest.
When I arrived late in the evening, one fledgling was high in a London Plane tree on the east side of Morningside Drive and the other was in a low branch in a tree 150 feet into the Morningside Park.
I got to watch two delightful eyasses and their mother on Saturday afternoon. One of the eyasses lazily stayed down during most of my visit in the left hand corner, while its sibling was very active. All three did lots of panting on a 90 degree plus day.
The evening started slow with the eyasses asleep, and no one in sight. Then an American Kestrel was heard, who dove repeatedly at one of the parents. Afterwards, there was one active eyas in view before I needed to take off for the evening.
St. John the Divine nest is much more active. While it took hours of waiting earlier this month to see a glimpse of anything, it is now common to see at least one eyass when you visit. It makes watching them a lot more enjoyable. If you're in the neighborhood, take a detour and visit them.
This season has had its problems up at St. John the Divine. The male of the pair died and was replaced by a younger hawk, and there has been repair work on the roof right by the nest.
Unlike many of the other New York City nests, we can't see the eyasses until they are about two weeks old due to the height of the nest. So, with a new father and construction, there were lots of worries that we hadn't seen anything yet.
So, it was with great joy that the eyasses were finally sighted over the last few days by Robert and Lincoln.
I had gone up on Thursday and didn't see them but was rewarded on Saturday morning. There appear to be two eyasses.
I've been troubled all week by the disappearance of the male from the St. John's pair and the news of his replacement by a younger hawk. It finally sunk in, when I got to see the new St. John the Divine male this afternoon.
Last Thursday, a Morningside Park dog walker, Stephen Jarossy, saw a Red-tailed Hawk with wing problems in the park. He went home to drop off his dog and get a cardboard box, but when he returned he could not rediscover the injured hawk.
He emailed me on Friday, but I got it too late to help him during the day. When I received it that evening, I forwarded it to the Urban Park Rangers, who sent two rangers to look for the injured hawk on Saturday. Bobby Horvath, the rehabber who confirmed with Stephen that he did indeed see an injured hawk. Two avid St. John the Divine hawk watchers and bloggers, James O'Brien (yojimbot.blogspot.com) and Robert Schmunk (bloomingdalevillage.blogspot.com), also searched the park for the hawk over the weekend.
On Sunday, it became clear that the male hawk of the Cathedral pair was missing. On Monday, Robert saw two adult hawks on the Cathedral, but couldn't I.D. them. On Wednesday, he could. There was a new, much darker male, next to the adult female of the Cathedral pair.
This confirmed for us that something catastrophic had happened to the female's old mate. It was unclear if he had died or had been taken into someone's care. Hopefully, he is with a rehabber, although calls to local facilities have not given us any good news. Birds have a high mortality rate, and chances are that the male has died, although we all hope to be proven wrong.
Tonight, I got up to the park to watch the adult female go to sleep in one of her favorite roost trees. No sign of her new suitor.
The Cathedral of St. John as started a waterproofing project and put up scaffolding all around the nest. While the work will be away from the nest, it is close by. The timing of this project couldn't be worse, with egg laying in mid-March and hatching in April. It will be interesting to watch this situation develop. I'm afraid that the hawks might end up attaching workers if they get too close to an active nest later in the Spring.
James O'Brien has more photographs of the St. John's scaffolding, as well as news of similar repairs on Riverside Church on his blog.
I've also gotten news of the 888 Seventh Avenue nest from Brett Odom, who has a view of the nest from his office.
"I just wanted to let you know that while I have not witnessed any copulation activities between Junior and Charlotte. I can confirm that they have greatly increased their visits to the 888 7th Ave. nest site. Until the last several days I could go weeks between sightings, but recently I have seen them visit the nest several times a day."
On Saturday, I started birding at the Long-eared Owls. Both were visible.
I then when north, trying to do a practice run for the Central Park Bird Count. On my way north I found an adult Red-tailed Hawk that was having fun scaring the hundreds of Grackles north of the Reservoir.
As I kept track of the Red-tail, I ran into a Screech-Owl. Needless to say, I was side-tracked by the owl for the rest of the afternoon.
Both the male and female of the St. John the Divine Red-tailed Hawk pair kept an eye on the Falconry Extravaganza (a misnomer, since it is an educational event, rather than a true falconry event) on Sunday in the park. Here are pictures of the female keeping watch.
I found one of the St. John the Divine fledglings in the southern section of Morningside Park on early Saturday afternoon. The fledgling did some practice hunting, but didn't catch anything while I was there.
Everyone was accounted for on Sunday, but it took some real effort to find everyone. The father was on a low branch behind the church playground along Morningside Drive. Above him was one of the fledglings.
On Friday, about an hour after I had left, Robert found the third fledgling. On Saturday, I was able to see all three too.
I'm just catching up with posting images from the weekend. These are from Friday.
I'll have more pictures up later, but I wanted to quickly share portraits of our three new St. John the Divine fledglings...
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.
The St. John the Divine eyasses have grown up. The three of them "posed" for pictures late on Friday evening.
I went up to visit on Saturday and all was well. The eyasses are now much more active and visible. They're at the stage were they enjoy sitting near the edge of the nest and keeping an eye on the world.
I couldn't stay long. The mother was on a finial near the nest and the eyasses were using both sides of the nest to look out. (This makes it difficult to watch them as one has to walk half a block to get a clear view of the left side.)
The eyasses continue to grow up at the Cathedral. Two of the eyasses have brown feathers on their heads now. They're still a ways from fledging, but they're growing up fast.
I was able to confirm that we have three chicks at the St. John's site this weekend.
I had a late work meeting, so I could only spend about 30 minutes at the Cathedral. One of the parents was on the Archangel when I arrived, and was soon joined for a few minutes by the other parent. Their backs were turned to me, so it was hard to make a solid identification.
Then one of the eyasses decided to defecate and move around the nest for about five minutes. Other than these two events, the nest was quiet.
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.
|Eyasses||Hatch (Best Guess)||+42||+46|
|888 7th Avenue||1||4/29||6/10||6/14|
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!
The evening started quietly with the mother on the Archangel, and the nest quiet. Then the father came in and did a feeding with food which was already in the nest. Afterwards the eyasses were full of activity, and at one point it looked like we had three babies in the nest. We'll know for sure in a few days.
The St. John nest has at least two eyasses.
There are two eyasses in this pictures, being feed by their mother. I know it's tough to make them out. I'm sure as they get bigger it will get easier to see that there are two eyasses in the nest. (Of course there could be three, but two is most likely at this point.)
I exit to see the Eastern Screech-Owl fly out in Central Park.
I arrived around 6 p.m. to find both parents off the nest and the nest absolutely quiet. No sign of the eyas(ses) while I was there from about 6 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m.
The father stayed in one spot, about twenty feet from the nest the whole time I was there. The mother shifted spots. First she was on West 110th, then the southeastern Plant building chimney, then the ornament on the Plant building, which we've nicknamed the urn.
I spent about an hour at the nest on Saturday. I was able to see brief glimpses of the eyas(ses). The nest seems to be one or two inches higher than last year. This is making it much harder to get a clear view.
They'll be getting taller each day, so by next weekend it should be easy to figure out how many kids are in the nest. But for now, we just have to wait.
She then does a brief tour of the area, before landing on the Archangel.
The adult female. She seems to be taking it easy these days. She let the male do the feeding this evening. After laying eggs, sitting on the eggs and then keeping her very young chicks warm, I think she deserves her mini vacation.
The wait is over! At least one eyas is now big enough to show up over the edge of the nest. (If you're interested in visiting the nest, see my post from last year with details about the St. John the Divine nest.)
At St. John the Divine we know there are babies because of the feeding behavior of the parents, but because of the deep bowl and height of the nest they aren't visible. I keep waiting for one of the eyasses to be strong enough to pop its head up. But it just hasn't happened yet. On Thurdsay, we got to see the parents do feedings, saw both of them off the nest, and saw the male with a mouse. Everything but an eyas!
I've received confirmation that a chick has hatched at 888 Seventh Avenue, so that makes the second building nest to hatch in Manhattan. So the Old School/New School score is tied 2-2.
The report came in from Brett Odom, who reports "This morning Jr. brought a pigeon to the nest and dropped it off. When Charlotte got up to prepare it I got a really good look at most of the empty nest. It looks to me that there is only one chick and no other eggs, but I could be wrong as part of the nest is obscured by a metal strip that connects the two pieces of decorative glass that the nest is behind. The eyas is currently no bigger than a softball, but is very active when not being sit upon."
It looks like the Pale Male and Lola, 5th Avenue nest is yet again unsuccessful this year. Although this is sad news, it shouldn't keep you from watching baby Red-tails. They're all over Manhattan and greater New York. So, make a visit to the other nests. Red-tails nests are all over New York City for your enjoyment!
And if the locations are too remote for you to get to, remember that the NYC Audubon sponsored Queens Red-tailed Hawk camera operates 24/7. It can be accessed from either Jeffrey Kollbrunner's website or from the NYC Audubon website.
I visited the Cathedral twice on Saturday. In the late morning, and in the late afternoon. The nest is too high and too deep to see into, so we depend on the behavior changes of the parents as our clue that there are eyasses. (If you're new to this story, see my first St. John post from last year.)
There were plenty of clues on Saturday, including food being taken into the nest, lots of feeding behavior, etc.
In the morning, when I arrived, no one was to be seen. Soon the adult male arrived on the Archangel.
In the afternoon, I return around 5:00 p.m.
Young eyasses can be too small to see at first, so hawk watchers depend on seeing feeding behavior. There were two such nest reports that came in via email today.
One came from Chris Lyons, who watches the Fordham hawks in the Bronx entitled, I THINK I just watched Rose feeding chicks.
"I was about to give it up as a lunch hour mainly wasted (ONE good shot), when Hawkeye showed up out of nowhere--didn't see if he was carrying prey, but he probably was. Rose spent quite a good while hunched over the nest, with her head bobbing, and Hawkeye was looking down into the nest with great interest. He stayed a long time. Eventually Rose settled back down on the nest. She's been taking a lot of breaks lately, without him relieving her. I never saw any chicks, but I wouldn't expect to at this point...Not 100% sure, but 95%, at least. "
The other came in from Robert B. Schmunk entitled, Cathedral hawk babies.
It looks like the hawks at Cathedral of St. John the Divine have had an egg hatch, as there was definite feeding behavior going on today just after 7:00.
Tristan had been hunting in the weeds alongide the northwest parking lot at the Cathedral and was observed to fly back to the nest with a mouse. He stayed there for a few minutes, and after he left Isolde was seen to be leaning into the nest in a manner typical of a feeding.
Donna Browne was watching with her scope and probably can provide better details of the feeding. At one point she indicated that it looked like Isolde was provide tidbits in two directions, as if there two nestlings.
Tristan returned with part of another mouse or rat at 7:30, but that appears to have been saved for a later meal."
I went by the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on my way home from Inwood Hill. As usual for this nest, you couldn't see the sitting hawk.
I went down to 110th and saw a hawk on 301 West 110th Street. It looked all wet. It hasn't rained for two days. Did the nest fill up with water during the Nor'easter and are they incubating the eggs on a water logged nest? Or did the hawk just take a bath somewhere?
Update: Reports from other hawk watchers over the last few days is that both hawks have looked dry. So, the verdict is that all is fine with the nest.
I went up to Inwood Hill Park, in addition to Highbridge yesterday. Although the female was sitting much higher on the nest, I didn't see any baby hawks. Neither did Robert B. Schmunk who was up there at the same time.
On Saturday evening, I saw that Alice Danna had also been up to Inwood Hill Park (but earlier in the day), and had seen two eyasses with one of the rangers (via Donna Browne's Palemaleirregulars blog.)
So, I gave it a second try on Sunday and was able to confirm Alice's report. I didn't see two eyasses, but the mother's behavior would make me believe that there was more than the one eyas.
This makes the two "old school" tree nests in Manhattan a success, while we don't yet know the fate of the three "new school" building nests, 5th Avenue, St. John the Divine and 888 7th Avenue. So the current score is Old School 2 - New School ?.
Below are pictures of the Inwood Hill Park female and her eyas(ses?) There would be no sign of an eyas and then a head would pop up for a few seconds. It was impossible to tell if it was the same eyas or multiple eyasses.