4/27, Ten-Minute Break

Isolde over Morningside Park

Early Tuesday evening, Isolde apparently decided she needed ten minutes of personal time. With Norman nowhere in sight, she bailed out of the nest at 6:50 and headed over the hospital roof, only to do a hairpin turn, circle about over Morningside Park, and then alight atop the Cathedral Gardens dormitory. There she perched, catching the evening light and gusty wind. Just after 7:00, she headed back to the nest. It was fairly chilly and best not to leave the babies alone too long.

Isolde over Morningside Park

Posted 4/27/2010 08:05:00 PM by Robert

4/23, Cathedral Nest

Isolde Returns to the Nest

Norman was apparently more pro-active in fatherly hawk duties early Friday evening. Normally seen for just moments at a time as he makes fly-by food deliveries, he spent some time babysitting the nestlings after 6:00. Isolde returned to the nest about 6:35 (above), and after a few minutes, Norman exited and Isolde settled in.


Although the head of whichever parent was in the nest was often visible, not a lot more was to be seen. There was no feeding while I watched, and hawkwatchers who'd been there for an hour or two before I arrived didn't report seeing one either.

Posted 4/23/2010 11:07:00 PM by Robert

4/21, Do Hawks Take Cat Naps?

It's 2:50 in the morning, and the Queens Briarwood nestcam reveals that Mama is wide awake. But then she yawns and tucks her head under a wing and tries to get some shut-eye.

Posted 4/21/2010 02:53:00 AM by Robert

4/19, Between Feedings

Isolde in Her Nest

More evidence of a hatch at the cathedral red-tail nest, as two feedings were observed today. Also, mama Isolde is now "sitting high" and is often visible. However, the height of the nest is such that it's likely to be two weeks or more before the nestlings are big enough and active enough to be visible from street level.

Donna observed a late-afternoon feeding around 4:30 or 5:00. At 6:30, Isolde was barely visible, her head just poking up to where she could scan the skies. At 7:00 she got bored with that position and moved over to sit on the south edge of the nest (shown above), where she stayed for about 20 minutes, watching passers-by on Morningside Drive below.

Norman finally flew in about 7:25, apparently making a quick fly-by food delivery as Isolde immediately began a feeding. Again, some suggestion that she was feeding nestlings in two different locations in the nest.

Posted 4/19/2010 10:23:00 PM by Robert

4/18, Family Dinner

Martha in Her Nest

Red-tail hatches in the city have now begun in Manhattan. On Sunday afternoon and early evening, I saw evidence of babies at two nests, and actually got a glimpse of one red-tail baby.

First, Highbridge Park. I reached the semi-decent viewing point on the side of Fort George Hill a bit before 4:00 and found Bruce already there observing the nest. Martha was sitting pretty high in the nest, suggesting that there was a baby in there with her, but Bruce had not otherwise seen much. But not long after, we got glimpses of a fuzzy baby head poking up above the twigs. It's just visible in the pic above.

At 4:20, Martha got up and started a feeding. The one baby head was more apparent in that same spot.

Martha Starts Feeding the Babies

Within a minute, Martha's mate George flew in, bringing extra food. It turned out that George is a "hands on" sort of dad, as he stayed at the nest for the rest of mealtime. While Martha fed tidbits to a baby at left and another unseen to her right, George de-feathered a pigeon and tore off pieces to eat.

Family Dinner

I couldn't quite see if he was turning those bites over to Martha to feed to the new kids.

George also provided security by looking around now and again.

Family Dinner

Family dinner continued until 4:40.

Family Dinner

George then took off, followed almost immediately by Martha. For a moment or two, Bruce and I could see a fuzzy head or two wiggling around. Then George returned to the nest and sat down to babysit for a little while. Martha returned to the area after a few minutes but perched in a nearby treetop where she enjoyed a scratch and some preening. Then about 4:50 she returned to the nest, checked things out to verify that George hadn't let the kids run wild while she was gone.

Martha Relieves George from Babysitting

Then George made his exit and Martha wiggled down in between her babies.

Ninety minutes later, after a quick look around the Manhattanville neighborhood, I was down on Morningside Drive, checking on the red-tail nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. All seemed quiet, not even a hawkwatcher standing on the corner watching the nest.

Just past 6:30, Norman briefly visited the nest. Possibly he made a food delivery, but he landed while I wasn't looking.

Norman Visits the Nest

He quickly took off again and I followed up Morningside Drive to see where he might have headed.

When I returned to the nest area five minutes later, I found Isolde busy feeding a baby or babies in the nest. She was standing on the north side of the nest, tail pointed awkwardly upward under the alcove ceiling as she leaned into the nest. The feeding continued until 6:50, and although the viewing angle made it difficult to tell whether Isolde was feeding one or two little hawklings, there were some suggestive hints that she was feeding two.

After the meal Isolde took for a two-minute fly around, which may have included garbage removal. A few circles over by the Towers on the Park, return to the nest, then over to Tristan's urn on the hospital roof, and then back to the nest to settle down for the evening.

Posted 4/18/2010 11:32:00 PM by Robert

4/14, Morningside Egret

Morningside Egret

A casual visitor to Morningside Park's pond. Apparently not a big fan of photography, as (s)he took off a couple of minutes after I showed up with a camera.

Morningside Egret

Posted 4/14/2010 10:56:00 PM by Robert

4/13, Standing Around

Isolde on Her Nest

Egg-brooding at the red-tail nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine apparently started on or before March 17, which means that egg-hatching time has arrived. But because the nest is so high, and its bowl so deep, the only to tell if an agg has hatched will be altered behavior of mama Isolde and her mate, Norman.

It's possible that that sort of altered behavior has begun. Although all seemed quiet at the nest when I first checked in this evening, when I came back ten minutes later, I found Isolde standing on the north side of the nest, tail outward. She didn't seem particularly interested in anything inside her nest, as she spent the entire time looking around in just about every direction. What was different was that she spend somewhere between 25 and 30 minutes standing on that spot, rather than settling back into the nest.

Occasionally she did look down.

Isolde on Her Nest

But then just after 7:00 she jumped out of the nest and flew up Riverside Drive. Was she hungry and tired of waiting for Norman to deliver a meal?

Posted 4/13/2010 10:32:00 PM by Robert