June 29, 2011

6/29, Three Together

On Wednesday evening, it was easy to find all three cathedral red-tail fledglings. Just watch one and the other two will show up.

The first fledgling was quickly spotted on a ledge between the nave and the north transept arch.

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He was sitting quietly, perhaps recently fed, and preened and scratched now and again.

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Soon enough, a second fledgling was spotted 40 yards east on the buttress between the arch and choir. It was apparently picking over a carcass, and only its backside was visible, bobbing up and down.

Twenty or 25 minutes later, the second fledge flew over to join its sibling.

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The second fledge was more active, moving about the ledge, occasionally disappearing out of sight behind the lip and re-appearing a minute later 20 feet away.

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But one time when it disappeared and re-appeared, I wondered how it moved from there to over there so quickly. It turned out that all three fledgings were up there.

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The trio spent 15-20 minutes together, preening and scratching.

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And perhaps picking over carcasses of old meals somewhere out of sight.

About 7:00, one fledge decided it needed some time to itself and took off.

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It perched above St. Ansgar Chapel for a few minutes.

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Then flew back west and tried to land on the roof of the nave, but missed. It turned around and flew across the street to land on the hospital roof. And in their respective spots, the three fledglings remained until after I left.

June 26, 2011

6/25, Evening Preening

When a nest has three fledgling red-tails the rules is supposed to be that you'll rarely find all three of them, but you'll always find one of them. Well, even the latter qualification took some time on Saturday evening. Only after 30-45 minutes of searching did one of this year's kids pop up, at the same spot that last year's solo fledge regularly appeared... the top of the cathedral's north transept arch.

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Of course, once found, you could keep an eye on him from a block or more away as he casually preened in the early evening light.

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June 22, 2011

6/21, Two Hawks on a Hospital

Tuesday evening on 113th St. was quiet. Two of the cathedral red-tail fledglings were perched in obvious sight at the top of the Plant Pavilion at St. Luke's Hospital. Both seemed to have full crops and were not interested in doing anything more than preen.

Two Hawks on a Hospital

Two Hawks on a Hospital

June 16, 2011

6/16, Final Fledge

The third young red-tailed hawk fledged from the nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine fledged on a gloomy Thursday evening, with its siblings looking on.

The nestling was quiet in the early evening, perched and looking around, with its most strenuous activity being trying to twist and stretch its neck to see the sibling perched in the turret just above the nest.

Red-Tail Fledgling and Nestling

Red-Tail Fledgling and Nestling

The third young red-tail was initially unseen, but eventually put in an appearance atop the crossing arch a couple hundred feet west.

Fledgling on the Crossing Arch

Ten or 15 minutes later it disappeared while no one was looking, and then re-appeared on the roof about 30 feet above the fledgling in the turret.

Just after 7:20, the nestling perked up, a lot, and started some enthusiastic wing flapping.

Ready to Fledge

The sibling in the turret had seemed to be snoozing, but it opened its eyes enough to watch the ruckus below.

Red-Tail Nestling and Fledgling

Bursts of flapping followed.

T Minus One Minute

A stumble back into the middle of the nest. Back out onto St. Andrew's hand for another burst of flapping.

T Minus One Minute

Quiet for a moment, and then at 7:28, one flap and go fly.

It was a clean maiden flight. Straight north about 90 yards, maintaining altitude all the way, clearing the trees along 113th St., and landing on the ledge around the edge of the roof of the Plant Pavilion at St. Luke's Hospital.

The new fledgling popped back up almost immediately, looking about at the fresh perspective of the world. Then it decided that with so much room to explore, it was time to do so. First west along the ledge.


Then east, down to the corner where the other hawks often like to perch and feed.

Meanwhile, the elder siblings watched from across the street.

Fledglings on the Cathedral Roof

June 15, 2011

6/15, Meeting atop St. Luke's

The young cathedral red-tails were easy to find tonight, and that was even before one started begging loudly.

One fledgling was perched on a small spire above St. Ansgar chapel.

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ANother fledgling was exploring the top of one of the north transept buttresses.

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And Youngest was still in the nest.

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It was easy to keep at least two of the young hawks in view at a time.

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The fledgling above the chapel started begging, although we couldn't tell if it was because it had spotted an adult in the area.

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After 20 minutes or so, the fledgling on the buttress got up and flew across the street, disappearing somewhere on the roof of St. Luke's hospital. We couldn't see it, but the area robins made it obvious what section of the roof it was on.

The fledgling on the chapel spire stayed where it was for a while.

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Eventually it made the short flight to the roof of the Baptistry. But before it had much time to explore, mama Isolde arrived carrying a bit of food (apparently a small bird) and landed on the corner of the hospital roof.

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The fledgling on the Baptistry flew over and landed just below her. There must have already been some food there, as Isolde held on to what she had as she watched it feed.

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The other fledgling soon re-appeared on a higher section of the roof and Isolde flew over to meet it, carrying the bit of food.

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Mother and child perched together for 10 minutes or so.

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And then Isolde flew back over to the cathedral, perching on a turret just past the nest. Perhaps she was trying to encourage Youngest to fly out and join her.

June 14, 2011

6/14, Lonely Nestling

On a gray and wet evening, I spend a frustrating 45 minutes trying to find one of the cathedral red-tail fledglings. It was obviously somewhere in trees between the Cathedral School and the condos, as it could be heard begging for 20-25 minutes and the robins in the area were going nuts for another 20-25 minutes. But the foliage was too thick, and eventually it must have moved somewhere deeper into the cathedral close as the robins suddenly shut up.

Meanwhile, mama Isolde was around for part of the time, keeping an eye on things. She disappeared right about when the fledgling quit begging (obviously not a coincidence).

Isolde and Gabriel

I didn't see or hear the second fledgling, but that was the result of spending too much trying to find the first one and then fleeing the rain.

Meanwhile, the youngest baby red-tail remains in the nest, although venturing out to perch on St. Andrew's hand. Hard to say when it will fledge, but it could be a couple more days. In the past we've seen differences of up to five days between first and last fledging.

Lonely Nestling

June 13, 2011

6/13, Two Cathedral Red-Tail Fledges

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#1?)

Some time between mid Sunday afternoon and mid Monday afternoon, two of the red-tailed hawk nestlings made the big jump from the nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. In all probability one went Sunday afternoon, as only one nestling could easily be seen in the evening. The second certainly went on Monday, as one neighborhood dogwalker reported seeing two in the nest early in the morning.

James discovered one fledgling about 1:30 Monday afternoon near the southeast corner of the cathedral close (the "campus" on the south side of the cathedral) near the new condos. I found it still perched in almost the same spot at 6:00. It occasionally moved about a bit, but stayed on the top of a section of chain-link fence about 30 feet long.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#1?)

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#1?)

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#1?)

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#1?)

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#1?)

James had also found the second fledgling on the roof of the Cathedral School about 3:00, but by the time I arrived, it had already managed to fly back up near the eave-line of the cathedral roof and was exploring the top of a buttress.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#2?)

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#2?)

The fledge on the fence seemed to be settling down.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling (#1?)

I checked around on the other side of the cathedral, and the third baby red-tail was still in the nest. Presumably this was Youngest, now free to perch wherever it wants on the side of the nest without having to jostle an older sib out of the way.

And as for the parents, both were in the area. Mama Isolde was perched near the top of the West Front tower where one guesses she was able to see both of the two fledges. Papa Norman also put in an appearance about 7:00 and perched with her for a couple minutes.

Nervous Red-Tail Parents

June 11, 2011

6/11, No Fledge Saturday

Gloomy Saturday evening, in between rainfalls, I checked on the cathedral red-tail nest. All three nestlings present and accounted for... Drat. There was some of the usual hopping and flapping, more of the latter when the gusty breeze picked up.

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The odd moment of the evening came around 7:30 when I was standing along Morningside Dr. almost below the nest and kept hearing some repetitive chucking noises. Not quite a robin chipping or other hawk-warning noises or a frog noise either. Finally I realized that about 15 feet away, there was a mama mallard on the other side of the chain link fence with eight very young ducklings in train. She was frustrated trying to figure out how to get through the fence with all her babies (the only gate with a nice gap at ground level was 100 feet away), and it didn't help that a feral cat kept trying to sneak up on them. Finally the ducks disappeared in the tall grass and I can only suppose she decided to hunker down for the evening.

June 10, 2011

6/10, Still No Fledge

All three young red-tailed hawks remain in the nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Although I had though the first of them to hatch might have been old enough to fledge by last weekend, it looks more likely that my guess on its age was off by several days. Instead of today possibly marking 49 days since hatch it looks more like it's been just 45. Still, that means a fledge could happen any time.

In any event, although it took a moment to be sure, there they all were early this evening. Two were relatively active when I first arrived to watch, one standing on St. Andrew's hand and doing some vigorous flapping, at one time elevating as much as six inches, and another doing some good wing stretched on the other side of the nest.

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They quieted down after 10-15 minutes and although they remained visible, there wasn't much to see for a while. A couple sightings were made of their mother, perched in the area. Around 7:10, the babies perked up a bit.

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Norman then made a food delivery and Isolde flew in right behind him. For a moment all five were in the nest before Norman took off again.

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Isolde thought about something for a few moments, and then stepped further into the nest to supervise the meal.

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