As I skated off the 72nd St. transverse and onto the walkway leading to Central Park's bandshell, angry robin chirping stopped me dead in my tracks. I wondered if one of the owls from yesterday's rehab release had flown across the lake. But no, it was a red-tailed hawk. It quickly shifted to a tree closer to the Summer Stage — a music lover — where it stayed for the next 20-30 minutes despite the continued efforts of a pair of robins to chase it off.
Of course, with Central Park red-tails, a common question is, who is it?
Well, the bandshell is probably in Palemale and Lola's territory, but it was quickly apparent that this hawk had light irises. It must be a young visitor. Indeed, a closer look at the two pictures above revealed that although most of the hawk's tail was adult red with light transverse barring, it still had a couple of its baby brown tail feathers. So it's a 15-month old.
The hawk did a lot of head-bobbing as it cased the joint for mice and what-not foraging in the undergrowth, but it also tried some occasional preening. The robins seemed to have figured out that the latter were good times to divebomb the hawk.
The hawk occasionally eyed the people around too. With irritation.