February 25, 2009

2/25, Riverside Juvie Red-Tail and Cathedral Coopie

Tuesday I found Norman and Isolde perched on the east side of the hospital again, but pictures didn't come out too well because of the shadows and because I hadn't yet figured out the focus point controls on a new camera. On Wednesday...

In Riverside Park, I found the juvenile red-tailed hawk in the middle of what seems to be his own little territory in the low 110s. He was perched near 113th St., high up a tree in the mid-level of the park.

Riverside Juvenile Red-Tail

With a half hour to go before sunset and a stuffed crop, it looked like the red-tail wasn't going to do anything more exciting than watch me and also the dogwalkers below.

Ed. note: Looking at the above picture a week later and a bit harder, I am rethinking my identification. That tail doesn't seem to show any of a juvenile's transverse barring. Instead, this appears to be the adult red-tail that has also been in the area.

I headed over toward the cathedral. No sign of Norman or Isolde at the cathedral or on the hospital, or anywhere near by. So time for a quick check of the south close before the day's light was gone. And there was the Cooper's hawk.

Cathedral Cooper's Hawk

He also had a full crop, so his eying of the peacock wondering around was only out of mild curiosity at the activity on the ground below.

February 23, 2009

2/23, Cathedral Red-Tails

James has documented the increasingly romantic behavior of the red-tailed hawks from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine over the past two weeks. Today, I found them hanging out together for a bit, but not too close nor for very long. Perhaps it was too cold.

Isolde was perched on a hospital air conditioner overlooking Morningside Drive when I came by at about 5:05.


I wondered if there might be some warm air leaking out around the AC.

Norman flew in from the north about 8-10 minutes later and perched 75 feet away atop the balcony screen.


They stayed put in their respective places for 7-8 minutes. Then Norman took off and flew around to the south side of the cathedral. Isolde took off a minute later; I could have sworn I saw her chasing something sizable around the corner of the hospital roof, perhaps the Cooper's hawk who's been hanging around the area. Norman came flying back over 113th St. Then all quiet.

One of the hawks had quietly returned and perched on another one of the AC units. It was still there whenleft a few minutes later.

February 20, 2009

2/20, Cathedral Cooper's Hawk

Cathedral's Cooper Hawk

The Cooper's Hawk was in the cathedral close a half hour before sunset today. This marks the seventh or eighth time I've encountered it in the past month. Once again, you can see it's had a successful afternoon hunt.

No sign of the cathedral red-tails about. It's been almost two weeks since I spotted either of them.

February 17, 2009

2/17, Riverside Juvie Red-Tail

No sign of red-tails when I made a pass through Riverside in the 100s or 110s late Monday afternoon. But Tuesday, right as I turned the corner on to Riverside Drive at sunset, a red-tail flew into the top of a tree at 112th St., overlooking the statue of Samuel Tilden.

Riverside Juvie Red-tail

It was hard to get a good viewing angle of the bird because of all the branches. This pic from almost straight below was the best of a bad lot. It looks like the juvenile red-tail who's been hanging about the area had had a late supper and was going to bed with a full crop.

February 15, 2009

2/15, Again with the Riverside Juvie and Adult Red-Tails

A similar hawkwatching scenario to that of yesterday. I first spotted a red-tailed hawk flying along Riverside Drive at about 105th St., but this time it perched atop a water tower at the corner of 106th St. It stayed put for about 6-7 minutes, watching over the park below, then took off.

Red-Tail over Riverside Drive

Then turned southeast and was gone from sight. But that departure pic did reveal that it was definitely an adult red-tail.

Turning around and looking north, I thought I caught a glimpse of something skulking through the treetops. A few minutes later I found the juvenile perched in a tree inside the park at around 111th St.

Riverside Park Juvenile Red-Tail

Barely had I taken a few quick pix before it switched to a tree a block south along the park wall, and then quickly to another to the west. A couple minutes of lurking and then it parachuted into thick branches a little bit closer to me. It looked around for a few moments.

Riverside Park Juvenile Red-Tail

Then made a rapid series of treetop hops, north then south then north again and finally down toward the highway and the river. After about 10 minutes I completely lost track of it. And apparently it chose a different roosting site tonight.

February 14, 2009

2/14, Riverside Juvie Red-Tail, and an Adult

While I was walking along the upper level of Riverside Park late this afternoon, a red-tailed hawk flew past me at 107th St., heading north as I was. The hawk headed straight up Riverside Drive and disappeared amongst the trees around 109th St. A few minutes later I found this red-tail perched in a tree at 110th. It turned out that it wasn't the same bird.

Juvenile Red-Tail in Riverside Park

First impression of this bird was that it was a juvenile red-tail. Sure enough, when it changed trees a minute later, I got a good look at its brown tail.

Juvenile Red-Tail in Riverside Park

It changed trees again, apparently going after a squirrel and narrowly missing it.

February 14

It watched the squirrel for a minute or two.

Juvenile Red-Tail in Riverside Park

And then turned around and moved north to another tree at 112th St.

Barely had I moved close enough to get a good view of its new perch then another red-tail appeared over the park and circled once.

Red-Tail over Riverside Park

Before heading south along Riverside Drive. Hard to say, but that picture looks like an adult red-tail.

The juvenile stayed perched way overhead for the next 20 minutes, but it seemed it still had food still in mind as I could see its head bobbing about as it cased the area. Eventually it made another unsuccessful attack on a squirrel in a nearby treetop.

The sky was getting gloomy with incoming clouds and disappearing sun. In the 15 minutes remaining before official sunset, the juvie red-tail changed trees five times. After it looked like it had settled on a roosting spot close to the Hendrik Hudson apartments, I left him to his bedtime preening.

But back to the point made at the start that the juvie I found perched in the tree and then followed about was not the original hawk seen flying up Riverside Drive. It turned out that on reviewing the pictures, the first bird had a very full crop. The juvie on the other hand did not, and was on the hunt. So it seems that the original hawk was the probable adult that went flying back south some 25-30 minutes later while the juvie was watching squirrels at 112th St.

Who was the adult? One of the cathedral hawks, or one of the Boat Basin hawks? Or a floater?

February 8, 2009

2/8, Riverside Park Male Red-Tail

After I'd been in the Boat Basin area for close to an hour, I belated discovered one of the Riverside Park red-tails perched in a tree close to the corner of Riverside Drive and 81st St.

Riverside Park Male Red-Tailed Hawk

The hawk looked small, so I figured this was the male of the pair. And you'll note the beak comes complete with a tip, so indeed this is him.

Although the hawk was getting a little sunset light on his back, the spot was somewhat shady. perhaps he was just enjoying some time in a relatively non-windy spot on a gusty day. He did do some looking around, but did not seem to be seriously looking for a snack.

About 15 minutes after I first found him, the hawk sat up, took off, did a U-turn and flew toward where last year's nest was located. He stopped short, perching in a tree across the path from the bench where hawkwatchers used to congregate.

Riverside Park Male Red-Tailed Hawk

He stayed here for another 8 or 9 minutes, and preened as much as one can in a breeze. About official sunset time he took off again, gliding downward somewhere near the 79th St. underpass, presumably to roost for the night.

No sign of the Riverside female the entire time I was around.

February 6, 2009

2/6, Cathedral Cooper's Hawk

February 6

The Cooper's hawk that I first observed roosting by the Cathedral of St. John on Jan. 17 has apparently been making a habit of it. Today was the third time I encountered the bird since then. There have been a few other times that I was in that area before sunset and didn't see it, but those may have been poor timing. Friday last week I also wondered if I caught sight of it a block west on Broadway, as something with hawk-like wings but a skinny tail flew over when I was running an errand that afternoon.

The Coopie's roosting spot has been pretty consistent. Always the same tree, although not necessarily the same spot on the same branch. But of course, it's always in a tangle of branches where it has some protection from attackers, and from photographers.