May 28, 2008

5/28, Wing Feathers

Cathedral Red-Tail Babies
Cathedral Nestlings

The lack of posts the last several days is mostly because I got a new pair of inline skates and have been getting some exercise rather than lurk on corners near hawk nests.

Nevertheless, I did check on the red-tail nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine over the Memorial Day weekend. Friday around sunset there was no sign of either nestling; Monday around 7:30 one was moving about for a few minutes but settled down; and ditto Tuesday at 6:00, but I believe it was the other one as the wing feathers looked a little more developed. Tuesday I might have hung around a bit, but the rain squall arrived two minutes after I did and I beat a hasty retreat.

(I didn't check on the Highbridge nest again as planned, because both Bruce and James visited over the weekend. Both agreed that something had happened to the babies there, as the nest was empty.)

Today there was no initial sign of a nestling being up and about just after 6:00. I wondered down into Morningside Park to check on the goslings and found them snoozing on the edge of the path. They woke up a few minutes later and started feeding.

Morningside Gosling

Heading back uphill, I spotted an adult hawk on the 114th St. corner of the hospital roof.

Red-Tal atop St. Luke's

The relatively lean build makes me believe that it was the male, Norman.

Although it looked like he might have been eating, the hawk only stayed in that spot for a couple minutes. It took off to the south, and I lost it in the treetops. But it didn't fly over to the nest, because checking up there...

Cathedral Red-Tail Babies

As others have reported, there are indeed two baby hawks in the nest. Both were up and monitoring the neighborhood. Their attention darted about. Sometimes they'd both be looking at the same thing.

Cathedral Red-Tail Babies

And two seconds later they'd be looking different directions.

Cathedral Red-Tail Babies

And as you can see from the nestling on the right, their wing feathers are growing in nicely.

But what of the adult who'd been over on the hospital? It merely shifted position over to Isolde's chimney, where it could soak up sun while keeping an eye on the kids.

Red-Tail atop St. Luke's

The belly band on the adult looks a little light to be Norman, but staring at the pictures, neither would I assert that it was Isolde. Drat. It would help to get some decent pictures of them perching near each other, but the only time I ever see them do that, they're not very close.

Back at the nest, the nestlings were settling down. One popped back up and flapped a bit as it seemed to be stumbling toward the south side, but it quickly dived back into the hidden alcove. The other picked a spot where it could sit down, but still keep watch on the outside world.

Cathedral Red-Tail Baby

After 6:45, I made my exit. The one baby was still just visible, and the adult was still on the chimney.

Red-Tail atop St. Luke's

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