April 28, 2008

4/27, A Quick Visit to CCNY

A very dismal day, overcast and just plain dim. But before dinner I made an effort to check in on the remaining two Uptown red-tailed hawk nests.

First I cursed myself for arriving at the CCNY campus a half hour later than planned, leaving very little time to hang about. But my timing turned out to be impeccable. Barely had I walked around to St. Nicholas Terrace at 5:35 and thought, "Why hunt in the park below? You'd nail your prey and then you'd have a long climb to get back up to the nest." And then the CCNY male flew over the roof of the south wing of Shepard Hall (i.e., from the CCNY campus, rather than up from the park) and alit on the edge of the nest.

CCNY Red-Tail Nest

He and the female "chatted" for a moment, both hunched over and looking in each other's direction. Then he looked around for a moment, this way and that.

CCNY Red-Tail Nest

And leapt from the nest.

CCNY Red-Tail Nest

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And flew around to the next corner of the Shephard Hall tower.

CCNY Red-Tail

Landed on a projection.

CCNY Red-Tail

Looked around for a minute.

CCNY Red-Tail

Then took off again.

CCNY Red-Tail

And flew off south or southwest. I lost him behind treetops within seconds.

Afterwards, the female's behavior indicated that food had been delivered. But... I couldn't decide if she was just feeding herself or feeding nestlings.

First she seemed to be standing in the middle of the nest, peering out.

CCNY Red-Tail Mama

Soon she shifted over to stand on the left side of the nest with her head pointed inward. She was moving around like she was eating or feeding nestlings, and all I could see was her rear end and wings tips sticking out. This lasted for a few minutes -- a quick meal or a quick feeding -- before she appeared to settle down. But the position she assumed was odd. She seemed to be sitting across the back side of the nest, her rear end still sticking out just a bit. It would occasionally wiggle.

And so she remained until I left 10 minutes later.

Walking south, I soon passed through Morningside Park. Still no sign of Hedda the turkey after seeing her all the time a month ago. Both geese out on the pond, and it looks like the female has covered her eggs with vegetation while she's away. One mallard drake around, but if there's a duck nest, I haven't figured out where it is.

And up to the corner of Morningside Drive and 113th. The cathedral nest looks quiet. No sign of Isolde, not even the tip-top of her head peeking through the twigs. Of course, no sign of Stormin' Norman -- he doesn't seem to hang around more than a moment when he is there.

Isolde started brooding at the cathedral nest between March 26 and 30, so we're now entering her hatch window. I suspect it would be later in the week than earlier.

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