3/25-3/26 & 3/28, Disruption

We've had our concerns about the scaffolding erected around the clerestory at the Catehdral of St. John the Divine, and James reported on Monday that the concerns seem well-founded. Isolde and her new mate were apparently very disturbed by the noise and activity near their nest and would not enter when the workmen were close by.

Since then I've been over to Morningside Drive three times, but after regular work hours were over. So I haven't witnessed the disruption myself. In fact, I haven't seen a lot of red-tail activity at all.

Tuesday as I was walking over at about 6:00, I got a glimpse of a hawk flying toward the nest, and a few minutes later when I reached Morningside, I saw the hawk (presumably the same one) leave the nest area and head south. The only other hawk sighting that day came about 30-40 minutes later when a red-tail flew in from the north, scattered a flock of small birds atop the hospital, and perched on the tall hospital chimney. It disappeared a few minutes later as I was walking closer but had my view obstructed by another building.

Wednesday I didn't see a hawk at all, except maybe one glimpse of something large flying south along Douglass Boulevard, just above rooftop level. More positively, I definitely did see a great egret exiting the Morningside Park pond and head southwest just as I was approaching the area.

Friday there was a hawk perched on the Wadleigh School tower at 5:40 but it quickly disappeared. After an hour of looking around I had about given up for the day when I realized that a hawk had alit on the tall hospital chimney while I had my back turned. Whoever was up there was perched so that it could an eye on things to the north and northwest. It stayed for 10-15 minutes and then took off to the north.

So aside from the sighting Tuesday at 6:00, I haven't seen a red-tail near the cathedral nest. It's entirely possible that Isolde is up there, hunkered down on a clutch of eggs. But if so, you'd think I might have caught a glimpse of the male flying in with dinner or to make a switch-off. (Wednesday, by the way, was March 26. That was the date last year that Isolde started staying over in the nest and began laying the three eggs.) And of course there's the issue of whether she'd stay in there atop eggs while workmen tromped around near-by.

Instead I am left to wonder if the hawks have made a very belated decision to build a new nest elsewhere.

After reading Jim's Monday report, I made another attempt to contact the cathedral executive in charge of construction projects. This time I finally got an answer, although it didn't come through until Thursday. The message was short, basically acknowledging that the cathedral authorities are well aware of the hawk nest and that they would "carefully monitor this as the re-roofing of the Apse proceeds." There's been no further response to my follow-up e-mail. I hope that if NYC Audubon looks into this that they find it easier to establish a dialog.

Posted 3/28/2008 09:36:00 PM by Robert

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1 Comment:

On 3/29/2008 10:39 AM , Yojimbot said...

Thanks for following up. I had the a pair copulating on top of Wadleigh on Thursday at 5pm. But yes, definitely much less activity. Could be she's on the nest!