7/17, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

Despite the heat I made my now daily trip over to Morningside Park to check on the Divine red-tails, arriving just before 7 p.m. Finding one the hawks was a piece of cake, as a couple of park users by the turtle pond immediately pointed me toward the nearby softball diamond backstop. Little brother fledgling was perched there, but panting a bit and apparently thirsty. Immediately he tried flying north, but quickly landed on the park path almost in front of a pedestrian, perhaps forced down by the catbirds trying to keep him out of the trees. Turn around and back up to the backstop.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

A few minutes later, another short flight put him in a tree over the picnic tables near the turtle pond, where he perched for a few minutes, again bothered by two catbirds and a robin. Then back to the backstop. and then a moment later down to the pavement alongside the diamond and next to the basketball court. Ah, he's checking out a little puddle. Yuck, he's drinking from it.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

Whilst li'l bro was sipping, big sister fledgling quietly alit atop the backstop. A few minutes alter, the dynamic duo were perched side-by-side, and remained so for about 8-9 minutes, panting in the heat and looking around. Perhaps there was something in the trees along Manhattan Ave., as they looked up there quite a bit, but if so it was probably a smaller bird rather than an adult hawk.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park

At 7:25, little brother turned around and flew off toward the 100 Steps, alighting in the tree where both fledglings had briefly been seen by Bruce and I yesterday evening. Big sister looked ready to go join him, but after fighting to get a foot un-stuck from the chain link mesh of the backtop, she apparently decided that was enough effort for the nonce. Might as well stay put.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park The fledglings remained in these locations for close to 40 minutes, not doing anything vigorously, not even preening. Why bother in these temperatures? Presumably the parents were also perched quietly somewhere.

At 8:05, little brother flew off again, this time heading south and turning into the trees near the 111th St. overlook. A few robin warning chirps suggested where he might be, but at this point, the heat had me beat too and I called it a night.

More pictures from this hawkwatching session are in my Flickr photoset starting here.

Posted 7/17/2006 10:41:00 PM by Robert

Edit Post


On 7/18/2006 11:32 AM , Ben C. said...


Nice photos of the St. John the Divine Red-taileds. What equipment are you using that keeps you mobile? Do you use a tripod?


On 7/18/2006 11:16 PM , Robert said...

I'm using a Nikon D50 with a 70-300mm Nikkor lens. Most of the time the lens is pushed out to 250 or the full 300.

I'm not using a tripod. But considering the number of bad photos I've taken (from motion blur) this past month, it's on list of things to buy after vacation.

On 7/18/2006 11:23 PM , Robert said...

P.S.: Some Photoshop also involved.