3/22, Still Eligible

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The adult male red-tailed hawk who has made Riverside Park in the low 110s his home still seems to be living the bachelor life. He has been spotted numerous times over the past week, but always by himself. The only other red-tail reported spending any time in his area was a juvenile seen on the edge of the park at 114th St. on Monday.

Early Wednesday evening last week, after the blizzard, the bachelor was lurking at 113th St.

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While on Friday at the same time he was found a block and a half up the street.

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Today he was discovered up just above 116th St, not far from last year's nest (which apparently was not his).

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Shortly later he flew south and picked a perch overlooking Riverside's 115th St. stairs.

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Where he stayed put as sunset approached.

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Posted 3/22/2017 09:52:00 PM by Robert

3/14, Riverside's Most Eligible

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Even as nesting season gets into full swing at Manhattan's red-tail hawk nests (four mamas brooding eggs at last report), there are also adult hawks out there who are not yet attached. Riverside Park between 110th and 115th St. has been the haunt of an eligible bachelor since at least Christmas, and only within the last week has there been a hint that he may have found a mate.

Tuesday after the snow quit falling, and just before sunset, I encountered him at 115th St. He was apparently hunting and caught something small just as I found him. By the time I caught up to where he was eating, the snack had been consumed.

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After looking around for a few minutes, he flew north a bit and perched above the 116th St. sled hill. There he remained until sunset. If he had found a mate, as was suggested by one neighborhood birdwatcher over the weekend, then the new female was not around. However, there was a juvie red-tail seen in the area late last week, so maybe the second bird was an under-aged hawk.

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At sunset, he was off to what seems to have been the night's roost, overlooking Riverside Drive.

Posted 3/14/2017 08:35:00 PM by Robert

3/10, Around the Heights

Word has begun to roll in of Manhattan's female red-tailed hawks overnighting in their nests, an activity they will engage in not long before the first egg is laid. At one site, possible brooding has already been reported. On Friday evening, it looked like the two nests in Morningside Heights were among this group.

At St. John the Divine about 15 minutes before sunset, what appeared to be a hawk head was just visible above the edge of the nest. Possibly it was a piece of bark poking up, but there were solid arguments that it was actually a hawk.

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First, whatever was poking up also moved about — not just from side to side as you might expect in a breeze but also dropping down a couple times.

But more importantly, on Thursday at about the same time, the two St. John's hawks performed what looked like a switch-off at the nest. That is: a hawk who had been perched on the hospital roof flew over to the nest, the other hawk then got up from the nest and left, and the first hawk plunked down into the nest. If it was indeed a switch-off, then it also means that the St. John's nest likely has egg(s) in it — a week earlier than it has in the past.

Up at Grant's Tomb, there have been reports all week about the female either being busy in the nest or else lurking close by. Friday at sunset, it wasn't immediately clear whether she was up there. Something like tail feathers were poking up from the nest, but I've seen that before and it turned out no hawk was there.

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But 15 minutes later after darkness was setting in, and the cold had prodded me to head south, I looked back to see that the female was definitely up there. She had stood up to make some adjustments to the nest contents.

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If the Grant's Tomb nest was on the same schedule as last year, then this weekend was about the right time for an egg to be laid. Possibly that's already happened, but possibly the female is still just doing an overnight.

Elsewhere, the bachelor hawk of Riverside Park was spotted by a couple people early Tuesday evening, lurking about his usual haunts in the 113th-114th St. area.

Posted 3/10/2017 08:47:00 PM by Robert

3/1, St. John the Divine

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it's two months into the year, so about time for a post about the hawks at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, no? Conveniently enough, I made my first sighting in 2017 of the red-tail couple on Wednesday about 15 minutes before sunset, and they left no doubt that they were getting ready for nesting and egg-laying.

Madeleine was perched across 113th St. on one of the rooftops of St. Luke's hospital. Initially I was a little confused about who it was up there because I had forgotten how dark her coloring is compared to many of the other adult red-tailed hawks around Manhattan.

About five minutes later, Norman flew in from the east, and within two seconds, a mating commenced.

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That lasted about 9-10 seconds.

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Norman hopped off and perched along Madeleine for a bit. But then, 59 seconds after he arrived, he took off, heading southeast in the general direction of Central Park.

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When will eggs be laid in the nest in the cathedral turret about St. Peter? No idea. Best guess is sometime between March 10 and 17, with the earlier date occurring if the relatively mild winter has prodded the hawks to start early.

Posted 3/01/2017 08:50:00 PM by Robert

2/22, Neighborhood Gossip

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It's getting closer to egg-laying time at the city red-tailed hawk nests, and word is coming in about nest-building activities in progress all around town.

One second-hand report came in that hawks (plural) were adding sticks to the nest on the Grant's Tomb light tower this past Saturday. However, neighborhood hawkwatcher Jeff indicates that the female at Grant's Tomb does not have the coloring of last year's female. In fact her coloring seems more like that of last year's 116th St. female, and there is some belief that the 116th male died before either of his progeny was ready to fledge. So the hot gossip is that a widow and widower hawk who lived next door to each other last year may have linked up for the 2017 nesting season.

Meanwhile, the male hawk who has been hanging round the 110th-115th section of Riverside Park was found at dusk on Wednesday, as shown above and below, perched in a typical spot close to the park wall around 114th St. Apparently he'd fed well enough for the day, as he didn't seem to be hunting, nor did he seem all that bothered by a squirrel who kept approaching to investigate and/or chastise the enemy.

This 110s male hawk also seems to be a bachelor still. No one has reported spotting him in company with another hawk nor even a definite sighting of a different adult hawk in his little territory. It's getting late for finding a season's mate, so one wonders how much longer he'll lurk about the area.

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Unfortunately, no reports received in the past month or more of hawk activity over on Morningside Drive. In all likelihood the cathedral hawks are around, but Morningside is a tougher locale to hawkwatch than is Riverside.

Posted 2/22/2017 08:33:00 PM by Robert