5/23, Nest Worries Move North, to Highbridge

As happy as I was on Thursday to see a baby hawk in the nest at St. John's, I was still very worried about another Manhattan red-tail nest. Worse yet, it was one that was apparently successful, but on last look seemed deserted.

Last Sunday, I went up to the Highbridge Park nest in the late afternoon after the rain ended. Over close to an hour and a half, there was no activity in the nest. Not even a twig twitch as (perhaps) something within wiggled.

Friday, I checked back, spending a bit more than a hour looking about the scene. WIthout the rain-slicked undergrowth I was able to climb to a position where part of nest interior was visible. This was all that could be seen...

What Happened?

If there was a living hawk nestling within, not even the sound of four helicopters thundering overhead in sequence at 5:15 was enough to perk up a fuzzy head.

On Saturday two weeks ago, the nest looked like this...

Highbridge Red-Tails

The Highbridge red-tail babies hatched about four weeks ago, and so the youngsters should be visible in the nest if they were there. Even if they were napping, they would be big enough that the top of a fuzzy heap should be visible.

So in two visits to Highbridge this week, I have spent a bit more than two and half hours in a spot where the nest was either close to eye level or even a bit below, and there has been no sign of the two nestlings. Nor of their parents.

What happened?

Last Sunday I wondered if the three or four rainfalls during the previous week might have caused a problem, perhaps hypothermia. After my Friday visit, Bruce mentioned that he had worried that the tree nest in a lonely spot might be vulnerable to raccoons. And then there's the possibly that another rat-poison incident has taken the lives of two more Manhattan red-tail babies.

I'll check back on Highbridge again this Memorial Day weekend to see if the red-tail parents might still be around. But as for the babies, I fear the worst.

P.S. After my Friday visit, both Bruce and James also made hour-long visits and saw no sign of the Highbridge nestlings. James did report seeing the parents copulating in a tree in the vicinity.

Posted 5/24/2008 03:42:00 AM by Robert

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