Brood Patch

It was a nice spring evening in Washington Square Park.  Bobby, the male was on the Education Building flagpole when I arrived.  He went to the nest to give the female a break.  She went to a spanish roof at the southwestern side of the park where she preened for about an hour.  Her brood patch was visible at times when she faced the wind.  While watching her, there was a photogenic Palm Warbler in the park grass.

The female hawk returned to the nest and Bobby then went to the Pless building and appeared to take a chest bath.  After about fifteen minutes he few west and we lost him somewhere around the Judson church.

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Quick Glimpses

Tonight I only had quick glimpses of the female.  Once when the male came to visit and later when the male delivered a rodent.  Watching brooding hawks is a bit slow.  I can't wait until the forth week of April when we'll have lots of young hawks to watch!

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Washington Square Park Excitement

I was on my way to visit CCNY uptown when I saw an email on my phone with a report of a grounded hawk in Washington Square Park.  So, I switched subway trains and headed for the park.  When I got there I found a hawk in a tree looking a bit stunned, but otherwise fine.  It didn't look like either of the nesting adults, so I was confused.  Then the resident male, Booby appeared on the Judson church cross and I could see the female on the Ustream camera feed, so I knew for sure this was an intruder.

Bobby hunted nearby, caught a small rodent and ate it, before going off to roost in a favorite spot.  Only after Bobby had left did the intruder leave the park, flying down LaGuardia Place.

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One Egg, More To Come

The Washington Square Park hawks have one egg in the nest with one or two more to come over the next few days.  The male gave the female several long breaks during the day.  At sunset, the male started hunting for rodents in the park.  He ended up catching a rat as it ran across a playground.  He then went to a few different location before calling to his mate in case she wanted the rodent.  When she didn't come he gave us the slip going towards the east.  It was fun to have the extra hour of daylight after work to watch them.

Update 3-14-17: The second egg was laid at 11:45 am on Tuesday.

Update 3-17-17: The third egg was laid on Friday afternoon.

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Washington Square Park Very Active

The first overnight of the Washington Square Park female turned out to be a premature stay on the nest as she skipped at least the next two nights.  While this is the first time I've seen a hawk spend a night on a nest and not return, I don't think it is a cause for concern.  Either Wednesday's Peregrine battle or large protest in the park could have caused the female to feel a need to occupy/protect the nest for the night.

This evening, both hawks were very active and were being a couple by sharing perches and food.  It looked like things were back to normal for late winter.  I suspect brooding will start within a week.

Update 3/11/17: The first egg was seen on the nest Saturday afternoon around 1 p.m.

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Washington Square Park Overnight

On International Women's Day, which had a noisy demonstration in Washington Square Park, the female spent her first overnight of the year on the nest.  The park was full of protesters when I arrived at the park tonight and I almost walked to Tompkins Square Park.  Luckily, I decided to stay and watched a Red-tailed Hawk chase a Peregrine Falcon from One Fifth Avenue and went out of sight.  Shortly thereafter the male was on the Judson Cross and the female was in the nest.  She was still on the nest when I left the park at 7 p.m.

A hawk can start spending the night on the nest way before eggs are laid.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes until we see the first egg.

Update 3/9/17: The female did not spend the night on the nest the next night.  This is unusual, but given the Peregrine Falcon's late appearance and the protesters in the park, she might have felt a need to protect the nest on Wednesday night.  The next week should be interesting.

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Washington Square Park Male On Nest

This morning there were reports of both the male and female Washington Square Park Red-tailed Hawks visiting the nest and at least one observation of copulation on 1 Fifth Avenue.  When I arrived, Bobby, the male, was the only hawk I saw.  He made two visits to the nest while I was there and added at stick to the nest.


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Web Camera Back At Washington Square

New York University has returned the camera to the Washington Square Park nest on the Bobst Library.  Thank you to those who lobbied for the camera to be returned, as well has the President's and Public Relations offices of NYU. The link on Ustream is here. 

The nest is very quiet now, but I'm looking forward to watching the feed in the spring.  The new cameras (a main one and a backup) are wonderful.

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Snack Time In The Rain

I had a quiet afternoon with one of the adult Red-tailed Hawks in Washington Square Park this afternoon.  The hawk spent at least an hour on top of 1 Fifth Avenue before coming down to hunt in the rain in the NW corner of the park.  It caught a small rodent, and looked to be on the lookout for a second snack before going to roost.  It started raining too hard for me to see how things turned out.

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Washington Square Park Fledgling

One Friday afternoon, I caught up with the Washington Square Park fledgling in a tree about 50 yards west of the fountain.  While I was there he spent at least 45 minutes preening and looking at the pigeons near his perch.  He looked in no rush to move on the hot and humid afternoon, so I took off for Tompkins Square Park.


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Washington Square Park Fledgling

The Washington Square Park Fledgling was having lots of fun this evening.  I found it on top of 2 Fifth Avenue where it played in the wind realizing that if it put its wings out, it would have lift off.  He then went down into the park chasing a group of pigeons and ending up on the Judson Church roof.  That's a great deal of flying.

Later, he made some a few trips around the east side of the park, and even went over to the roofs of Washington Square North. 

From the pictures, you can see his primary and secondary feathers that hadn't grown in when he fledged look good now.  The only feathers with issues are two tail feathers.  It's nice to see him looking less scruffy.


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Washington Square Park Fledgling

Despite having a few missing primary and secondary wing feathers, the Washington Square Park fledgling is actually a good flier.  It made its way to a number of buildings around the park today, and did a great job of flying to high locations.  It did much better than many new fledglings.


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Washington Square Park Fledge?

There were no hawks on the nest this evening, and reports are that none were seen today by anyone.  So, we assume the single eyass has fledged.  The parents were spending a lot of time above the Pless building, so the fledgling is most likely on its roof.  A group of us are eager to see how it's coping with the few primary and secondary feathers that are missing.  It would be nice to see a few normal flights.

Update: 6/15/16  The fledgling has been perched and flying well in the SW corner of the park today.  Reports are nice flights, to perches high on buildings.  So, the wings might not look perfect but they certainly work just fine.


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Washington Square Park

The lone Washington Square Park eyass has yet to fledge.  It has a few wing feather that haven't grown in properly, but looks a good deal better than it did a week ago.  The eyasses always seem to take their time at this nest and I suspect this hawk will be no exception.


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Washington Square Park

With the hot weather the lone eyass at Washington Square Park spent the early part of the evening lying down on the cool stone of the library.  I could only see it by walking to 9th Street and University Place.  Luckily, as things cooled off, the eyass became more active and could be photographed.


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Washington Square Park

It's looking more and more like only one egg out of three hatched at Washington Square Park.  I was at the nest this afternoon and through the twigs could see only one eyass eating (around the 2:30 mark on the video).

One of the lesser known issues with rodenticides is their effect on fertility in raptors.  We might be witnessing this here.  While the Parks Department has stopped using poisons in Washington Square Park, they are commonly used by NYU properties around the area.


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Washington Square Park Hatches

Thanks to a contact at NYU, news spread that the first of three eggs had hatched at Washington Square Park today.  I went down after work to find fascinated parents, feeding the newly hatched bird, but mostly looking at the youngster.  Great news on Earth Day.


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Washington Square Park

While hawks are incubating eggs, visits to a nest can be dull or exciting.  At Washington Square Park, it was exciting tonight with a nice rodent kill and some visits to the nest.  News from NYU is that there are three eggs this year.


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Juvie Settles In

The youngster in Washington Square Park seems to have settled in and the adults on the territory are getting used to it being around.  At least for now! 

This afternoon the youngster caught a squirrel near the bathrooms.  The adults both hunted nearby.  Bobby had a pigeon on top of Dr. Sexton's apartment roof, and we saw the female go after something but couldn't find her afterwards.


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Youngster Continues In Washington Square Park

The young hawk in Washington Square Park seems to be settling in around the large-dog dog run.  It was there this evening.  I found it thanks to a young child in a playground who yelled to his mother, "Look an owl".  Reports are that the adult pair seem to be tolerating it more. 

It went to roost in a tree just inside the park at Sullivan and Washington Square South.


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Washington Square Park

The juvenile that's been spending time in Washington Square Park spent a large part of the morning on a lawn, prompting some concerns.  All was good however, as the bird was seen eating a rat in the afternoon.

I saw it for about a minute this evening by the larger-sized dog, dog run (the park has two, one for large dogs and one for small dogs), but I lost track of it as I was setting up my equipment.

Then after sunset, both adults were soaring around One University Place and suddenly a hawk speeds down to a tree.  We see another hawk move slightly in the same tree.  We ran to the tree and find the youngster, who gets attacked again by Bobby, who was only a few feet above. I don't think any contact got made between the two.  It was more of a warning shot, then anything else.

We then found the adult female perched on the Silver Building.  Fun evening.


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Kid vs Adult, Day 2

The battle between the young hawk and Bobby, the male adult of Washington Square continues.  After the young hawk eat a rodent, Bobby chased the youngster all around the park, before giving up at nightfall.  The youngster then roosted near the Washington Square Arch.

(General conscience is that the youngster is most likely a migrant on its way south.)


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Go Away Kid

I went to Washington Square Park this evening not expecting to see much, but ended up with a wonderful show.  A juvenile Red-tailed hawk was being chased by an adult hawk in the park.  Eventually, the adult left leaving the youngster to catch two small rodents and chase squirrels. 

I have no idea who the youngster was.  Was it this year's fledgling returning to the park or a migrant on its way through New York City?  Who knows?


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Mercer and Washington

The Washington Square Fledglings have been hanging out on water tanks on Mercer street buildings this week. 

I caught up with one fledgling on a small water tank.  The parents were seen briefly flying high overhead together towards Union Square.


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Bolder Youngster

Our reluctant fledgling at Washington Square Park is getting more active, jumping around the three windows and being much more confident.  It had two rats for meals today.  At this rate it should be finally off the ledge on Monday or Tuesday.

The active fledgling was above the reluctant one on the roof of Pless for much of the afternoon, but eluded being photographed.  Both parents kept an eye on the two youngsters and late in the day the mother flew frequently over Pless, as though to say to the reluctant one, it is time to go.

(Word comes from Fifth Avenue, that all three have fledged.)

Monday update: The fledgling left the Pless building almost a week after it arrived, going to the Silver Building and back to Pless.  By the evening it was nowhere in sight, most likely enjoying a rooftop perch nearby.


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Keep Calm and Carrion

At Washington Square we have a rare but not unusual event happening.  A fledgling has decided it fledged too early and is staying put on a window ledge.  This is seen by rehabilitators from time to time. 

In this instance a number of rehabbers have been consulted and each agree that since:

  1. The bird is healthy
  2. The bird is being fed by its parents
  3. and it's in a safe location (with NYU security guards looking after it)

that the best course of action is to let nature take its course.  At some point the youngster will mature mentally and start flying.

Now, this rare but not unusual event is worrying the Washington Square and NYU community.  Inexperienced viewers are worried that something is wrong with the bird.  They've been calling 911, 311, Animal Control, the NYS DEC and every rehabber they can find.  This is all well intentioned but not helpful.

So, when I'm at Washington Square I reassure everyone who talks to me that:

  1. Multiple professionals have been contacted and all agree that the bird should stay where it is since it is a safe place and the bird is being fed by its parents.
  2. The crying one hears is normal for any young Red-tailed Hawk fledgling.  It is a call for food, but young birds often do this even after just being fed.  In addition, the loud calling is a confirmation that the bird is healthy.
  3. The bird most likely fledged too early and every day it waits the stronger and more mature it will be when it does decide to fly.

(I also learned Friday, that landing on Pless was not a crash landing as previously reported to me.  It was a sloppy but gentle landing.)


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Reluctant Fledgling

Washington Square Park has one of its fledglings staying in basically the same place since it fledged.  Except for moving from a fourth floor ledge to a third floor ledge it's stayed in the same place since around Monday at 10 am.

It's being fed by its parents and doesn't have any apparent injuries.  Most likely it fledged too early or may have hit its head while fledging and needs some time to recover.

The other fledgling was having a meal on the Shimkin Building roof and both parents were keeping an eye on both fledglings.


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Washington Square

The two fledglings at Washington Square can't be any different.  One is very active and flying high up to the roofs of the Shimkin Hall and the Education Building.  The other is staying put on a fourth floor window ledge of the Pless Building.  Young hawks definitely show you their personalities after fledging. 

The parents were in view, and both kept a close eye on both fledglings.


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One Off At Washington Square Park

One eyass fledged sometime over the last day at Washington Square Park.  I discovered it on the roof of the Bobst Library late this afternoon. It had fledged sometime in the last 24 hours, most likely Sunday morning.  I received word that after I left the park, the fledgling ended up on the Pless building for the night.

It's sibling is still on the nest and was fed by the parents, who seem in no rush to have it leave. Update: The second fledgling left the nest sometime before 10 am on Monday morning.  Both birds were seen safely on buildings to the east of the park.  One on Silver and one on Pless.


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Grown Up

After a visit to Cape Cod for a family wedding and a busy work week, I finally got to hawk watch on Wednesday.  The Washington Square hawks have really grown up, and look like they could fledge whenever they're ready.   They looked fantastic taking short flights on the window ledge.


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That Was Fast

The little ones at Washington Square Park, aren't so little anymore.  I'm amazed at how fast they grow. They have some orange in there chests, are gaining a belly band, and have wing and tail feathers growing in.


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