6/21, Cathedral Hawkwatching

(Pix in my Flickr hawkwatching photoset for June 21 begin here)

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks I don't think I'll try to go back to cover two weeks of hawkwatching. The short form is that the first baby hawk at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine fledged on Sunday, June 11, and the second on Saturday, June 18. (Unfortunately, I wasn't there for either event, although I did see the second one almost go for it the evening before.) The long gap between the two might be because the first was rather precocious; it certainly seemed quite clumsy for the first 2-3 days after it left the nest.

Now it's June 21, and the fledglings are roving further away from the nest. They're still either on the Cathedral grounds, or on the east end of St. Luke's hospital, or in the nearby trees over or along Morningside Drive, but it's tougher to locate them because there are more spots to check and a lot of tree cover to hide them.

Popping over to the Cathedral just after 2:00 p.m., it seems that there are no hawks to find at all. It's sunny and although the temperature is not that high, it's brutal to stand in the sun for very long. Presumably the hawks think likewise and are hiding in shady spots. But as I'm on my way back to the office, I do a quick scan of the roof at St. Luke's and spot an adult on a railing. Walking back over, I find Mom out in the sun above 114th Street. (All photos are clickable.)

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks Going back to the Cathedral around 6:30, I find Bruce has just beaten me there and already spotted one hawk atop the cross on St. Savior Chapel. A couple minutes later, I spy a fledgling on the eaves of St. Martin Chapel.

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks It turns out that the hawk on the St. Savior cross is Mom. And ten minutes later Bruce notices that Dad has also shown up and is perched on Gabriel's horn up on the Cathedral roof.

Just before 7:00, Dan and Mom fly off almost at the same time, he heading high toward Central Park and she swooping low over Morningside Park. Then we see that the fledgling on St. Martin's Chapel is getting active, moving from one roof corner to another and then back. A couple minutes later the fledgling decides to fly and makes for the roof of the north wing of the Cathedral School!

And to add to the excitement the other fledgling comes out of nowhere to join her. The second had apparently been hiding somewhere just out of view, perhaps over on the roof of St. Ambrose Chapel. (Bruce has suggested this second flegling might have been Mom. I suppose this could possibly be true, if on swooping over the park, she turned north and then came in very low over the chapel roofs.)

Unfortunately the gables on the Cathedral School stick up higher than the roof, which with the tree cover makes taking pix difficult. As we're angling for sight lines, one of the hawks on the school roof flies to the top of the south wing of the school. At that point, all five hawkwatchers (Bruce, Jean, Susan, me, a lady whose name has slipped my mind) completely lose track of where the hawks are at, and we have people on both sides of the street pacing slowly around trying to find them. About 7:15, someone noticed that Mom is atop the water tower on the roof of 412 West 110th St.

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks After that, everyone moseyed around to Amsterdam Ave. and we went exploring for hawks on the south side of the Cathedral campus. While we're doing so, Mom shifts from the water tower over to Gabriel's horn. Close to 7:30, Bruce finds a fledgling perched on an eave of the roof on the back side of the Cathedral School. We admire her for awhile, point her out to some kids who have been playing basketball at the school court, and then it's time to leave.

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks For perspective, here's another shot of the fledgling on the eave at the Cathedral School. She's at the lower right. Note that Momma hawk is perched on Gabriel's horn at the upper left.

As the day comes to a close, we see Mom still perched on Gabriel's horn, but being harassed (and ignoring it) by a smaller bird that alternately perches on one of Gabriel's wings, chirps loudly, and tries to buzz Mom.

An extra half dozen photos from the day are posted in my Flickr photoset.

Posted 6/21/2006 11:03:00 PM by Robert

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