Manhattan 2015 Nest Checklist Update 1

7:00 Feeding - 0983

It's mid-May, so it's time to catch up on how the various red-tailed hawk nests in Manhattan have done so far this spring. Following is a table of the twelve known nests that were all brooding eggs as of mid-April. So far, it looks like eight have hatches (with at least 17 babies reported), two seem to have failed, and the status of two is unknown. The hawks at one of the failures may be giving it a second try.

Background about the twelve nests can be read here.

  Location Hatched? Babies Notes
1. East Village/Ageloff Towers Yes 3 First hatch about May 1.
2. NYU/Washington Square Yes 2 Both eggs hatched by April 27.
3. Central Park Sheep Meadow Yes 3 First hatch before May 9.
4. Fifth Ave. at 74th St. Yes 3 First hatch about April 26.
5. CPW/Beresford Apts. No Failed?
6. West End Ave./80s Yes? ??? Possible feeding observed May 16.
7. St. John the Divine No First try failed? A second clutch may have been laid about May 10.
8. CCNY Shepard Hall ???  
9. Wright Park/Ft. Washington Ave. Yes 3 First hatch probably early May.
10. Gorman Park/Fairview Ave. Yes 3 Hatch date unknown. Probably April 22-24.
11. Highbridge Park/Swindler Cove Yes? ??? Possible feeding observed May 10.
12. Inwood Hill Park ???  

In addition to the above nesting sites, there may be others in Manhattan this year. Most credibly, hawks were reported in early May to be collecting sticks on a fire escape on Third Ave. in Spanish Harlem.

Posted 5/17/2015 11:23:00 PM by Robert

5/16, J. Hood Wright Park

Checking on uptown red-tailed hawk nests late Saturday, I caught the 7:00 feeding at the J. Hood Wright Park nest and was able to count the nestlings.

The mama perched in the nest when I first arrived, just watching things.

Hawk Mama - 0944

But not long later she maneuvered around the nest to begin a feeding.

7:00 Feeding - 0980

Taking photos from just across the street, I could make out white fuzziness moving around but not quite clearing the edge of the nest.

7:00 Feeding - 0983

Moving to a spot further up the street where the viewing angle was flatter, it became apparent that there were at least two baby hawks up there.

7:00 Feeding - 1047

And after looking through photos I was able to see that there was a third to the left.

7:00 Feeding - 1059

After 20 minutes, the feeding was over and mama prepared to take out the trash. Saturday dinner had been pigeon.

Taking out the Trash - 1155

She flew west, presumably to dump the remains along the highway.

Taking out the Trash - 1161

Then returned about 10 minutes later and perched on the fire escape railing.

Hawk Mama - 1185

She eyed the sleeping baby hawks for a few minutes.

Hawk Mama - 1193

And then as rain began to fall, she hopped down into the nest to keep them dry.

Posted 5/16/2015 10:39:00 PM by Robert

5/10, Mother's Day Uptown

Sunday afternoon I checked on several red-tailed hawk nests in upper Manhattan. At three of them, I either saw nestlings or else sign that there were nestlings.

First up was the fire escape nest by J. Hood Wright Park in Washington Heights. There I apparently just missed a feeding as I found the mother perched on a nearby window railing.

J. Hood Wright Mama Hawk - 0282

Catching up on her preening.

Preening - 0295

Watching the park.

J. Hood Wright Mama Hawk - 0325

And the sidewalk below.

J. Hood Wright Mama Hawk - 0339

About 35 or 40 minutes later, as the clouds were clearing, she popped back into the nest to check on things.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nest - 0365

She fussed around a bit and could be looking at a couple different spots in the nest. Apparently the babies were snoozing away, as she settled down beside them.

Farther north, we already knew the Gorman Park nest overlooking Fairview Ave. had seen its three eggs hatch, and probably two weeks earlier. There I could see little heads poking up, sometimes sitting up and looking around.

Gorman Park Hawk Bestlign - 0451

And not just sitting up, but standing up and flapping and stretching. A close look even revealed pin feathers.

Pin Feathers - 0461

Meanwhile, the Gorman Park parents were perched together across the valley on top of an apartment building on Ft. Washington Ave.

Walking around Fort George Hill from the west side to the north east, I came to the Highbridge Park nest near Dyckman St. and Tenth Ave. I might have arrived at the end of a feeding, as I could see a parent leaning into the nest and fussing about. In fact both parents were there, although the foliage is thick enough that I didn't realize the second was there until the male flew off.

The feeding apparently over, the mother remained perched on the side of the nest, checking the babie(s) within.

Highbridge Hawk Nest - 0573

At one spot I could just pick out a fuzzy baby hawk head visible through a gap in the nest twigs. Possibly the mother was also eying another spot, so there may well be two nestlings up there.

Highbridge Hawk Nest - 0582

Posted 5/11/2015 11:19:00 PM by Robert

5/8, St. John the Divine

When you think you have a handle on hawk behavior, it's time to think again. Either that or the hawks are deliberately confusing you. In other words, I still have no idea what's really happening at the red-tail nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Friday evening at the cathedral, there was no activity around the red-tailed hawk nest when I first passed by. I took a long walk east to check out a report of a possible 13th hawk nest in Manhattan (null result) and then came back to the cathedral about 7:45. A hawk was fussing about in the nest. A moment later, the other flew in.

Cathedral Hawk Nest - 0146

Cathedral Hawk Nest - 0146

The hawk who had been in the nest got up and jumped out.

Cathedral Hawk Nest - 0153

Based on the missing wing feather, I think that was Norman.

But a half minute later, that hawk was back.

Cathedral Hawk Nest - 0178

While I shifted to another position slightly closer to the nest, it seemed that again one hawk left, while the other settled down in the nest. But a minute later, the view was of one hawk sitting up on the side of the nest, generally keeping on things.

Cathedral Hawk Nest - 0206

So maybe there are baby hawks up there. If so, I don't know how they survived some of the chilly days when the nest was unattended for anywhere up to an hour.

Posted 5/08/2015 09:45:00 PM by Robert

5/7, Morningside Drive

The adult red-tailed hawks at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine still seem to be acting like there's no reason to pay attention to their nest, or at least they behave that way when I see them. And meanwhile there's no sign of anything happening in the nest, like wiggling twigs or white wash on the surrounding stone. It's looking like a nesting failure, although it will be another week or so before we can be certain about it.

Early Thursday evening after checking the nest, I walked up to the overlook at Morningside Drive and 116th St and turned around to find a hawk flying over the rooftops, and then starting to circle around right overhead.

Madeleine Over Morningside - 9902

Madeleine Over Morningside - 9904

Looks like Madeleine.

Madeleine Over Morningside - 9922

She circled higher.

Madeleine Over Morningside - 9950

Disappeared behind the university's East Campus Dorm for a moment before re-appearing.

Madeleine Over Morningside - 9961

Way way up now, and drifting east over Morningside Park.

Madeleine Over Morningside - 9966

Oh, hey. There's another red-tail. Looks like Norman is here.

Norman over Morningside - 9984

Lost track of Madeleine there for a moment, but the hawks crossed past each other and there she is again.

Madeleine over Morningside - 0018

Soared high up over 116th St. and came in for a landing atop the East Campus Dorm.

Cming in for a Landing - 0026

Where Norman had already landed.

Madeleine & Norman - 0030

They perched there for a few minutes.

Madeleine & Norman - 0033

Norman shuffling a little closer at one point.

Madeleine & Norman - 0053

And then Norman took off, soaring south and then drifting southwest and out of sight as he passed over the hospital.

Norman Over Morningside - 0075

And while I had been watching him, Madeleine had quietly disappeared in another direction. Overall, the whole scene took about 12 minutes.

Posted 5/07/2015 10:52:00 PM by Robert