12/14, Roosting Red-Tails

Tipped off that a red-tailed hawk had been regularly appearing on a particular fire escape near the north end of Morningside Park just before sunset and then apparently going to roost in the trees below, I had the corner staked out late this afternoon after 4:20. Ten minutes came and went, with no sign of a hawk. Then a minute or two after sunset, a hawk flew in from the north and landed in a tree top.

Morningside Red-Tail

The spot looked pretty exposed so I figured the hawk would move before going to roost. Indeed it definitely did. With at least six short flights of a block or two, it proceeded to hopscotch down the length of Morningside Park. Each time it moved I would get a general idea of where it went and then go looking. Each time I wouldn't find it until it took off again.

At 111th St. I saw the hawk head for the other side of the park, but as I began walking around to see if it finally gone to roost, there was the other Morningside red-tail perched on a chimney at Columbus and 110th, catching the last rays of twilight.

Twilight Red-Tail

Possibly I missed a switch-off there, and the hawk on the chimney was really the first one I'd seen and the other the other.

In any event, the chimney hawk soon dove into the park trees along 110th. A minute later I located the "first" one. Definitely roosting, as it was doing some pre-bed-time preening. A few minutes later, the "second" flew into the same tree, perching about 40 feet away.

Roosting Red-Tail

At that point it was 25 minutes past sunset and almost the only light was coming from street lights along Manhattan Ave.

An odd place to roost, as there's a fair amount of street noise at the spot from traffic along 110th and buses on Manhattan Ave., while the other side of the park is much quieter. Then again, I'd seen one of the Morningside hawks roost in or near the same tree a few times before.

Night, night.

Posted 12/14/2008 05:56:00 PM by Robert

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