5/2, Tristan's Bad Day


On a gorgeous early evening, I arrived at the Cathedral before 5:40 to find both Tristan and Isolde in view. Isolde was in the nest, of course.

Isolde in Her Nest

Tristan, however, was on the Cathedral roof. Not on Gabriel's horn, but perched on the edge of the north transept arch.

Tristan on the Cathedral Roof

Ten minutes later after I had walked around to Morningside Drive and taken some pictures of the statues on the chapel walls, I returned to 113th St. to find neither hawk could be seen. Isolde might have been hunkered down in her nest, but Tristan I soon found just as he was trying to catch a mouse or rat close to the stonecutters' shed, several hundred feet west.

Tristan Hunting the Cathedral Parking Lot

After a couple minutes, during which the damn squeaker ran by him twice (albeit about 10 feet away) Tristan flew up into a nearby tree.

Tristan Hunting the Cathedral Parking Lot

He stayed in that tree or the next one over for almost of the next hour and a half.

Tristan Hunting the Cathedral Parking Lot

The only time I saw him elsewhere was when he made another unsuccessful strike at 6:35 and briefly perched on the fence along the sidewalk.

Tristan on the Cathedral Fence

As you can see, he was pretty close to the emergency entrance to the hospital.

Tristan on the Cathedral Fence

Meanwhile, back at the nest, Isolde has apparently decided that the kids are big enough already that she can leave them unattended for a few minutes. I saw her outside the nest four separate times. First, at about 6:20, she was perched on Gabriel's horn.

Isolde and Gabriel

She snuck back into the nest while I wasn't looking, but at 6:25 she flew back out and across 113th St. to perch on a chimney at St. Luke's.

Isolde on the Roof of St. Luke's

She returned to the nest a couple minutes later, perhaps concerned about the two crows who had flown near her.

Isolde Leaves the Hospital

Isolde's third trip out of the nest came at 6:50, at which time I had seen her standing on the edge of the nest and looking around. I anthropomorphized this stance as meaning she was getting more than a little irritated that Tristan had not come by with food.

Isolde in her Nest

She dove out to the east and over Morningside Park, and I thought, well, she's waited long enough and now she's gone to hunt something up herself.

I didn't see Isolde again until about 7:10, at which time she was back in the nest, and again looking around.

Isolde in her Nest

No feeding in progress, so if she had gone hunting, she didn't bring anything back. A moment later she again dove out of the nest, but this time it was just a single circle over the park and back to the nest.

I left at about 7:25 as I had things I needed to do. Tristan was still down by the stonecutters' shed.

Tristan Hunting the Cathedral Parking Lot

I wondered if he had perhaps overhunted the area, as I had a parking lot guard and a dogwalker each tell me that they had seen him hunting by the parking lots this week.

I also found it highly curious that the spot where Tristan was perching was across the street from the emergency entrance to St. Luke's. The sound of ambulances apparently doesn't bother him much.

After I left, I stopped at the deli to get a sandwich. I felt really guilty while eating it.

Posted 5/04/2007 12:45:00 AM by Robert

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On 5/04/2007 4:22 AM , Donegal Browne said...


I think you're right about Tristan overhunting the rats near the stonecutters shed. What happened to some of their compatriots so recently is still fresh in their rodent minds and has them too wary for Tristan to readily hunt them. Pale Male,who's years of experience show in his hunting skills, rarely hunts the exact same spot more than a couple of days in a row at most. Then again he has more options as his prey base is deeper and more varied than that in Isolde and Tristan's territory.

Part of Tristan's dilemna is that the pigeon population is down near the Cathedral. The adult birds that make up the current population are wise to the hawk's ways or they wouldn't still be around.

Remember the pigeons sticking to protected spots on the hospital the other day while Tristan was hunting?

The next influx of newly fledged and therefore less savvy pigeons should be coming up in the second or third week in May. That is barring a high attrition of young due to the cold wet weather a few weeks ago.

On 5/04/2007 4:34 AM , Robert said...

I haven't posted my Friday stuff yet, but Tristan was back to the parking lot and came up with at least one mouse. He ate half and I think the rest was shared around during the ~7:20 evening snack at the nest. (Dinner proper was just after 6:00.)

I have wondered if Tristan was hunting the lot area because he's staying close to home for the early post-hatch period, and it's really close to the nest. And since he apparently hasn't been working that area that we've seen before, there was a fresh crop of mice and rats to work on.

One of the dogwalkers was saying Friday evening that the stonecutters' shed is mouse heaven. (She also mentioned an interesting story about the racoons that were hanging around there.)

On 5/04/2007 4:35 AM , Robert said...

Sorry, I meant my Thursday stuff.

It's been a long week.