St. John's Miscellany

Hawk sightings at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine have been hit-and-miss over the past month. It has again been three weeks since I have seen of this year's kids in the area, so it would seem that if the remaining two have not got into trouble, they are no longer around. I have wondered if they migrated to the north end of Central Park, where I am less likely to visit.

In any event, following are a handful of photos from the past four weeks...

First, sightings of a fledgling perched atop the archangel Gabriel on Monday, June 27.

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Gabriel & Fledge - 0324

And two days later, a fledgling perched on the Avalon apartments at 110th and MSD, overlooking the cathedral grounds and preening.

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Cathedral Fledgling, Preening - 0356

That was the last definite sighting I made of one of the fledglings. Occasional sightings of adult hawks have occurred since then.

For example, one of the parents atop their favorite chimney/vent cover at St. Luke's hospital on Friday, July 8.

Cathedral Hawk - 0381

And again atop the hospital on Wednesday, July 13. This time I think it was the father, Norman.

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Posted 7/22/2016 11:02:00 PM by Robert

6/24, St. John the Divine

Who's the Hawk? 0242

After two weeks of frustration, unable to find one of the hawk fledglings from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in a half dozen visits, I checked again on Friday evening. A hawk was perched on Gabriel's horn, but I'd found mama Madeleine up there a couple times last week.

Hard to tell from this angle, though, what color the tail is. Let's hope it stays there while we get round to the other side and get a look at its front.

Gabriel and Fledgling - 0263

Tawny breast, dark belly band, and a squinty near-sighted look. It's one of the two fledglings we've been looking for. Finally.

The fledge stayed in place while we wondered around the area looking for the other sibling. No luck on that front.

It had seemed to be watching the southeast, and eventually it took off flying that way. High up, almost high enough to make one think it could be heading for Central Park. But it stopped halfway there, perching atop the Cathedral Gardens dorm.

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Seven or eight minutes there and it thought better of the decision. Back into the air.

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Bank left.

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And out of sight behind a building as it headed back in the general direction of the cathedral.

In other positive news for the day, hawkwatcher Melody A. reported that she had encountered the surviving Riverside and 116th red-tail fledgling this morning. So we know two of Morningside Heights' young hawks seem to be doing okay.

Posted 6/24/2016 09:56:00 PM by Robert

Sad Hawk News

Cathedral Fledgling - 9355

The blog has been quiet a while, right in the middle of what should be one of the busiest times for watching young hawks. Much of that has been because I have had poor luck in finding hawk fledglings so there has been little news to report, but it's also because the news has been bad.

As you may have heard, the red-tail fledgling from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine who was injured and taken to rehab has died. She had managed to fly as far as Manhattan Ave. in the 109th-110th area and crashed. Although no broken bones were found when the vet did X-rays, the young bird had a spinal injury that left her legs paralyzed and also was causing pain. After a week in which treatment was having no effect and her condition was instead deteriorating, there was no choice but to euthanize her.

Adding to the misfortune, a few days later we learned that one of the young red-tails at the nest at Riverside and 116th St. has also died. The best guess is that this bird died of frounce, a diease caught from eating the wrong part of an infected pigeon. The hawk died at the nest; I don't know whether it the one who had not yet fledged when I last visited the site, or if it was a fledgling who had returned to the nest.

And for those who wondered why no reports about the Grant's Tomb hawk nest in so very long, it's because the one hawk nestling at that location apparently died during the last week of April, aged somewhere between two and three weeks. No one knows what happened there, just that the baby was visible in the nest the weekend of April 23 and then by late the following week could not be seen.

So it's been a bad-luck season for the three red-tailed hawk nests in Morningside Heights. We hope that the three baby hawks who were last known healthy are remaining so, and will report on them when we next get some pictures.

Posted 6/17/2016 03:58:00 PM by Robert

6/6, Fledge at West 116th St

116th St. Nestling - 9926

Checking on the Riverside Park hawk nest at 116th St. to see if there had finally been a fledge, I found only one young hawk in the nest at the start of the evening.

It was obviously paying attention to something over toward Riverside Drive, and other watchers in the area pointed out that an adult was perched across the street.

But perhaps there was something else that way?

116th St. Fledgling - 9937

Indeed. Perched almost directly above the head of the hawkwatchers, about 50 feet up and some 30-40 yards from the nest was the other baby hawk.

116th St. Fledgling - 9939

Whether the young bird had managed to fly over there, no witnesses were around to say. And maybe it had done some crazy amount of branching in order to work its way to a tree above the park's upper walkway. But even if the latter, it's far enough away from the nest that such effort should count as having fledged.

116th St. Fledgling - 9952

So congratulations, little one.

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And meanwhile, mama was perched atop the Paterno apartment building.

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But then took off on her rounds.

The fledgling rotated around so that its back was to the sun. It settled in for some preening, and ogling of the passers-by below.

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Then mama returned, perching atop 448 Riverside.

116th St. Hawk - 0047

Besides keeping an eye on the kids, mama also had other concerns. The next door neighbors, relatively speaking, are not friendly. One of the Riverside Church peregrine falcons was also on patrol.

Riverside Church & Falcon - 0020

Mama took off again, but a bit later there was a noisy confrontation overhead when she and the falcon met up. Some screeching and then everyone returned to their corners. Okay for now, but this could get ugly in the coming weeks as the baby falcons also fledge.

One last look at the fledgling in sunset light.

116th St. Fledgling - 0106
Posted 6/06/2016 10:39:00 PM by Robert

6/5, Riverside and West 116th St.

Stay At Home Kids - 9875

Just before Sunday's dinner-time rainstorm, I visited the red-tailed hawk nest area at Riverside Park near 116th St. It's been more than 50 days since first hatch was detected there, but except for some aggressive branching first seen on Friday, the baby red-tailed hawks there have yet to fledge.

Sunday eve first found one baby hawk just visible napping in the nest, but as the wind picked up a bit, it got up and started flapping like crazy. But where was its sib? In the nest, too. It got a minute or two later and the flapping party went into overdrive as rain started to sprinkle.

Flap Flap Flap - 9888

One of the duo branched up to a very small limb about five feet above the nest and for a time looked like it was going to fledge whether it wanted to or not as the wind gusted. But it managed to hop back down into the nest as the deluge began and observers cleared out.

Posted 6/05/2016 10:06:00 PM by Robert