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

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1 Comment:

On 4/19/2010 9:04 PM , outwalkingthedog said...

How exciting that the babies are here! I posted one of your photos on "Out walking the dog" with a link urging people to come to your site for more. Please let me know if I should credit you differently or if you'd rather I not post it. Thank you.