7/3, Grant's Tomb Update

Grant's Tomb Rescue

The grounded baby hawk rescued at Grant's Tomb last night is now spending some time with Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation. They report that, "He is basically starving at 575 grams, very thin. Other than being underweight, nothing else appears wrong at this time. ... He is too early to fledge judged by the length of his flight and tail feathers; he cannot get any height even if a healthy weight."

So although I had thought the bird might have fledged on Thursday and had a rough landing, it seems a bit more likely that he might have fallen from the nest. That he was found so close to the nesting site — which is located in the platform atop a metal pole close to the memorial retaining wall — also hints at a fall.

The baby red-tail being underweight suggests that there has been a problem with the parents feeding him, and that leads one to wonder if there has been conflict with the Riverside Church peregrine falcons just a block and a half down the street. Neither parent was to be seen in the area when I spent some time there Friday afternoon, nor was there any sign of another baby hawk in the nest.

If anyone has recent info about the adult red-tailed hawks at Grant's Tomb, please let us know.

Posted 7/03/2015 04:56:00 PM by Robert

7/2, Grant's Tomb

Grant's Tomb Rescue

Late Thursday evening, I received a second-hand report of a baby hawk grounded near Grant's Tomb, on Riverside Drive at 122nd St. There'd been rumors about a possible red-tail nest in that area a couple months ago, but I'd heard nothing in quite a while. And with the falcons resident at Riverside Church just across the street, I'd always thought that was a terrible place for hawks.


It turns out there was indeed a red-tailed hawk fledgling at Grant's Tomb, with the nest being in a light or communications tower close to the memorial. Likely the young bird had fledged Thursday, had a rough landing, and was not able to get back up into a tree. Wildlife rehabbers will be checking him over on Friday, and if he proves healthy, he should be returned to his parents in a day or three.

Posted 7/03/2015 02:42:00 AM by Robert

7/2, St. John the Divine

A visit to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine early Thursday eve gave good looks at one nestling in the hawk nest. The young bird looks so big that a couple of us thought it could be two weeks old. That would match better (although not perfectly) with when I thought the second clutch of eggs were laid back in May.

In any event, the one nestling visible was lying high along the south side of the nest when I first arrived, but soon poked its head up and looked around.

Cathedral Hawk Nestling - 3921

Cathedral Hawk Nestling - 3929

Mama Madeleine, who had been lurking over on the hospital roof, flew up not long later, perching near the nest.

Mama on the Roof - 3957

Soon enough she was down in the nest. She fussed about a bit but five minutes later, a feeding began.

Feeding Time - 3984

After a few minutes Madeleine shifted to another position across the nest. She continued to feed the one nestling I could see but it's possible she was also feeding another, smaller one.

Feeding Time - 4052

Eventually the child(ren) was fed and laid down for a nap. Madeleine had some morsels herself, and showed no inclination to leave right away.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 4094

Some nicer pictures and video of the scene can be seen on the Urban Hawks blog.

Posted 7/03/2015 02:27:00 AM by Robert

Manhattan 2015 Nest Checklist Update 3

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2635

It's almost July, and Manhattan's baby red-tailed hawks have been fledging from their nests and causing chaos on the local rooftops and in the neighborhood parks.

Following is a list of the twelve nests that were brooding eggs in mid-April. It looks like eleven have had hatches, with one of them on the second try of the season. A total of 24 baby hawks have been observed, although that will go up once we get a look at the nestlings in nest eleven.

As of this writing, it looks like nine of the ten nests on the "normal" schedule have fledged all their babies. The tenth had just one baby, which died before fledging.

Background about the twelve nests can be read here. Previous updates appeared here and here.

  Location Hatched Fledged Notes
1. East Village/Ageloff Towers 3 3 First hatch about May 1. Two nestlings fledged June 20, third June 23.
2. NYU/Washington Square 2 2 Both eggs hatched by April 27. Fledged June 14 and 15.
3. Central Park Sheep Meadow 3 3 First hatch before May 9. First fledge June 23.
4. Fifth Ave. at 74th St. 3 3 First hatch about April 26. Two fledged June 13, third June 16.
5. CPW/Beresford Apts. No -- Failed.
6. West End Ave./80s 1 0 One baby. Died about June 10 before fledging.
7. St. John the Divine Yes -- First try failed. Second clutch hatched mid/late June; nestlings not yet observed.
8. CCNY Shepard Hall 2 2? Hatch about April 18-20. Nest empty June 7; both nestlings presumably fledged.
9. Wright Park/Ft. Washington Ave. 3 3 Hatch about May 1-5. First fledge June 21/22; last about June 26.
10. Gorman Park/Fairview Ave. 3 3 Hatch about April 22-24. All nestlings fledged between June 7 and 14.
11. Highbridge Park/Swindler Cove 2 2? Hatch date unknown. Nest empty June 27; both nestlings presumably fledged.
12. Inwood Hill Park 2 2 Hatch date unknown. Both nestlings reported fledged as of June 14.

In addition to the above nesting sites, there might have been a couple 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 6/29/2015 11:45:00 AM by Robert

6/28, St. John the Divine

On a gray Sunday afternoon, Madeleine the cathedral red-tailed hawk was again visible in her nest, watching the neighborhood, preening, and finally, feeding what seems to be more than one small nestling.

At 4:30, she was perched with her back to the nest contents, looking out over Morningside Park.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3397

Not long later she turned around to give a little attention to the nest interior.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3413

But although she fussed briefly inside the nest, she spent most of the next 20-25 minutes preening. Sometimes she looked back over a shoulder.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3421

Meanwhile I cast about to see if there were any other spots along Morningside Drive where there might be a good vantage.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3462

Round about 5:00 I found an okay spot right at the intersection of 113th St. that I had previously missed.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3489

From that spot it seemed that I could see Madeleine checking at least two spots in the nest, suggesting two or three babies up there.

Moments later, Madeleine was bent over the nest and for the next 15 minutes, all I saw of her was a feathery posterior. The 5:00 feeding was in progress.

Addendum: The Urban Hawks blog has video of the feeding.

Posted 6/28/2015 06:39:00 PM by Robert