6/15, A Double Fledge Sunday

Based on a 45-day count from first sight of a feeding, I had figured that the first red-tailed hawk baby at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine might leave the nest this coming Tuesday, June 17. However, their wing exercises up in the nest didn't seem quite as vigorous as did those of their elder half-siblings of 2006 and 2007, so I wouldn't have been surprised if the first fledge occurred later in the week.

Instead, they both made the big jump today.

After skating in Central Park, I had gone home to clean up before going to Sunday dinner, and found e-mail that weekend hawkwatcher Stella had watched a nestling leap from St. Andrew's head at a quarter to five. I reached the scene at a quarter to seven and found Stella, Lincoln and another hawkwatcher looking up high in a tree near the corner of Morningside Drive and 113th St. Indeed, there's a feathery hind-end visible on a branch up there.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling #1

But wait. Stella is saying that the other nestling left the nest an hour after the first. She shows me where it's hiding in Morningside Park, a fair distance from its sibling. It's on an eye-level branch in a tree at the top of the rockface.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling #2

Robins and other small birds in the surrounding trees are all going nuts about the new fledgling's presence. Perhaps all that noise is intimidating, or perhaps the hawkling is still assessing what it just did an hour ago. It's very quiet.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling #2

And notice that there's still a fair amount of down on its head rather than feathers. Maybe it did fledge "early".

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling #2

Drat. It's almost 7:00 and I have to run to dinner.

Monday, the game of hide-and-seek with wandering fledglings begins.

Posted 6/15/2008 11:53:00 PM by Robert

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