7/21, Getting in Close

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling


Like Friday, another long spell in Morningside Park without a red-tailed hawk sighting. Entered the park about 6:05 p.m. and made two circuits, one all the way up to 120th St. Not much to see except the egret still/again hanging about the pond. Some sort of large function in the north, with barbecue, so any noise-minded hawk would have long vacated the premises. Elsewhere, the small birds are quiet, providing no help in finding hawks.

After a long sit and almost a nap on a hillside near the southwest corner of the park, exited the park just before 7:40. But having seen a fledgling fly into the cathedral Close on Friday and all the robin noise in there on Tuesday, decided to continue enjoying the nice weather with a stroll around the Close.

Whoa, I hear robins. But no hawk in sight. There's the white peacock wondering around the lawn, and there's the two "regular" peacocks sitting on the guard rail where they like to perch. Stop a moment to examine an interesting piece of "furniture" where two paths join, look up, and a hawk girl is perched 15 feet away in plain sight, right on the railing on the front of the old Leake & Watt orphanage building.

Almost immediately she flies 200 feet west and perches in a tree overlooking the drive, then a minute later another 125 feet to the scaffolding around the narthex south tower. Hey! There're two of them there. The first one seen (apparently) flaps up to a platform about 40 feet up where I can only intermittently see her, while the second hops around a bit about 25 feet off the ground, first looking up to see what her sister is doing...

Red-Tail and Scaffolding

... then to look around at what's on the ground.

Red-Tail and Scaffolding

Meanwhile, the fledge upstairs begins to trundle along the platform heading toward Amsterdam Ave. Then as she gets close to the street side of the tower, the lower one flies up to join her. I rush out to the street. Just one of the duo is visible from across Amsterdam.

Red-Tail and Scaffolding

There's the impression that something has flown off the platform back into the close, then the fledge in view turns around and also disappears.

Five minutes later I finally re-spot one of the fledges as she jumps off the same branch where one had been ten minutes ago, dives down and across the Pulpit Lawn, goes through (!?) what I assume is the eponymous pulpit, and tries to snag a squirrel or small bird on the south side of the lawn. A miss, and she banks left and back up into a tree. Then another leap and attempt to snatch a squirrel on the north side of the lawn by the flowers. Miss again.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

Squirrel runs across grass nearby and jumps onto tree. Fledge gives it a dirty look.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

Then she flies up and perches on the pulpit.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

Watches calmly as a squirrel walks along the ground below, then casually over at few people (mostly tourists) wandering about.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

What, you can't see me here?

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

About 8:10, the guard starts pushing us all out. The fledgling remains where she is.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

She's just visible from a few places out on the street, and at 8:20 she's still perched on the pulpit. Sunset officially at 8:22. The pulpit perch doesn't look like the best spot to roost, but one expects that the fledgling went to bed close by.


Only had about 45 minutes in the park/cathedral area, from about 6:15 to 7:00. No hawks seen, and probably not heard either. Small birds didn't seem to have anything to say about them, although they may have been drowned out by the noisy postgame from an adult softball match.

Posted 7/23/2007 10:52:00 PM by Robert

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