May 12, 2008

5/11, Perching Near-By at CCNY and the Cathedral

I originally planned to start Sunday's hawkwatching with a visit to Riverside Park, but late Saturday evening I heard the terrible news. So when I finally did venture out on Sunday it was only for a quick walk-by at the CCNY and Cathedral red-tail nests.

Arriving on St. Nicholas Terrace just before 5:30 I immediately had a glimpse through the trees of a hawk over St. Nicholas Park. Within a few moments it flew up toward the Shepard Hall tower, but rather than fly to the nest, it landed on the stonework 30 feet away. If I hadn't seen it land, I might never have noticed it there.

CCNY Red-Tail

Some analysis of the situation indicated that the hawk's perching place was just far enough around the tower that the nest was not actually within its field of view. If there were nestlings up there, presumably the adult was relying on sound for any alerts about possible trouble.

But are there any baby hawks up there? There was no sign of hawk activity in the nest itself. The part of the nest that hangs over the stone figure holding a hammer is rather thin, and there was no movement visible through the sticks, or even anything feathery fluttering in the wind. Honestly, I still don't know if there's an eyass up there.

The adult stayed on its perch around the corner for at least the next 20 minutes. It might have been Mother's Day, but the flag overhead made the situation seem a bit more like a patriotic day.

CCNY Red-Tail

By 6:00 I headed south to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Arrived around 6:20 and all was very quiet. No activity in the hawk nest, and no one perching on any of the usual spots in view. But 10 minutes later after I gave up and was walking west on 113th St., a hawk flew over the top of St. Luke's, low enough that I wondered if it had been perching above the hospital clock, and across the street to the nest.

Visiting the Nest

Hard to say, but the gleam in the hawk's eye make me think it was Norman, checking on the kid(s) in the nest.

Are there kid(s) up there, and if so when will we see them? The cathedral nest bowl is deep and shadowy, so it takes some time. But checking last year's reports, it seems that the first sighting of a fuzzy baby hawk head did not occur until 11 days after the first feeding was noted. This year the first person to report signs of feeding did so on May 3, so... any day now.

Norman hung about on the edge of the nest for a couple minutes, but then he took off and flew back toward the hospital. Again I wondered about secret hawk perching spots that might be up there.

Once again trying to make my exit, but there was another sighting of a hawk in the air over the hospital. And 50 feet down the street, I looked up and found that a hawk was perched on the tall chimney. In fact, there were two.

Hawks atop St. Luke's

I think that's Norman at left, looking down his nose at me, and Isolde at right.

Good to see that Norman is chilling out a bit and keeping Isolde company.

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