2/7, Trespass

Sorry for the lack of posts. I haven't been able to get out on weekends to look for hawks, so the only one I'd seen in the past few weeks was a red-tail I spotted along Broadway between 102nd and 105th the middle of last week. But with the sun setting later I can now get over to Morningside Park to look around at the end of the afternoon.

No luck yesterday, but today while walking by the Morningside Park ballfields at 5:00 I looked up to see a red-tail quietly perched just ahead.

Morningside Red-Tail

Belatedly I realized there was another almost directly overhead.

Morningside Red-Tail

There seemed to be a size difference, so I initially thought the first one...

Morningside Red-Tail

...was Tristan and the second Isolde.

Six or seven minutes later the first one flew off to the north, and while I was tracking its progress the other quietly disappeared another direction. I found the first one again just where I expected, perched in one of Tristan's favorite roosting trees over the playground. But wait, its shoulders are dark, this is Isolde.

Morningside Red-Tail

She changed trees a couple times. After 5:20 it was getting dark in the area and I figured Isolde would stay where she was and roost for the night. Time for me to leave.

But wait! The fun was about to begin. Just when I got back to the corner of Morningside Drive and 113th, I realized there was a hawk flying over the upper lawn of the park. It headed south and then hooked over the street and landed on the cross atop St. Savior chapel.

Red-Tail atop Saint Savior Chapel

And again belatedly I realized there was another hawk in the area. About 40-50 feet away on a branch directly over the center line down Morningside Drive was this girl looking toward Isolde (?) on the cross.

Juvie Red-Tail over Morningside Drive

Barely had I taken that picture then the hawk on the cross jumped off, flew up toward the nest and... a third hawk popped out and the two of them flew around the cathedral apse and into the close. Whoa, three hawks. So assuming two of them are Tristan and Isolde, then there's one interloper. And indeed, the hawk still perched over Morningside Drive is not one of the cathedral couple. It has a very dark belly band, and despite the poor light it's apparent it has barring on the tail and light eyes: a juvie.

But were the two who disappeared around the corner really Tristan and Isolde?

Again I prepared to leave, but this time I spotted an adult red-tail alighting in a treetop north of 113th near the dog run and another one disappearing into the trees nearby. A minute later what seems to be the second one flew back up at the one perched, and they both took off south over the upper lawn in what looked like a chase-off. The red-tail kept going south and the second one turned back and disappeared near the dog run. Hey, that second hawk looked kind of small and skinny. Was that the Cooper's who has been hanging around Morningside Park lately?

At 5:35, the juvie red-tail was still perched over Morningside Drive but the light was almost completely shot. I left, my head buzzing with questions about what had just transpired and how many hawks were involved. Three? Four?

P.S.: Red-Tail over Morningside Park I wonder if the juvie with the heavy belly band was this juvie seen over the north end of Morningside Park during James's bird walk in late November.

Posted 2/07/2008 06:43:00 PM by Robert

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On 2/07/2008 11:08 PM , yojimbot said...

Does one of the juvy's have a missing feather in his tail?

On 2/07/2008 11:14 PM , Robert said...

The only bird that I was certain was a juvie red-tail was sitting quietly on a branch, so I couldn't see.

The Cooper's that I might have seen, and which your blog said was a juvie, I was too far from to really get more than quick impression of, "Looks too small for a red-tail".

Light conditions were pretty poor so I didn't get the best look at the fun at the end of the day. I honestly have no clue whether it was a red-tail who popped out of the nest or maybe the Cooper's making like a burglar.