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?

Posted 2/14/2009 06:41:00 PM by Robert

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