4/29, Highbridge at Three Weeks

Torrential rain like we had last Sunday evening always makes me worry about exposed hawk nests. Late afternoon this Sunday I checked on the red-tail nest at the north end of Highbridge Park and was happy to see Martha and the two babies safe and sound.

Martha and Her Babies

I may have missed a feeding by 10 or 20 minutes. The two nestlings were both awake and wiggling about a bit. A couple times, one or the other of them stood up along the side of the nest, looking impressively big.

Martha and Her Babies

But after I'd watched for a little while, everyone was settling down.

Martha and Her Babies

And then perhaps 20 minutes after I started watching, both nestlings were obviously snoozing while Martha quietly preened her breast feathers.

Posted 4/29/2012 09:53:00 PM by Robert

4/28, Being Norman

Between work demands and bad timing, I didn't see any interesting activity at the Cathedral nest this past week. But I did see Norman a couple times.

Monday as I was walking along Broadway in the middle of the afternoon, I happened to look down the cross street and spotted him a block away atop a water tower at Amsterdam and 107th St.

Norman on 107th St

And on Wednesday after I had checked on the nest, he put in a short appearance on his favorite spot on the hospital roof.

Norman on the Hospital Chimney
Posted 4/29/2012 04:03:00 AM by Robert

4/18, Feeding Time

It looks like a definite hatch at the red-tailed hawk nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. On Tuesday we saw the "concerned staring at the bottom of the nest" which often suggests a hatch in progress, and today it seems confirmed by Isolde spending 12-13 minutes leaning into the nest in fairly obvious feeding behavior.

Feeding Time

Norman apparently delivered food at about 6:40, as Isolde promptly got up and started feeding the baby(s). Norman took off a minute or two later, leaving Isolde about her work. The feeding concluded just before 6:55, when Isolde leapt out of the nest. She carried the remains of dinner up to a preferred spot on the roof of 54 Morningside Drive where she had a bite or two herself. She flew back to the nest a few minutes later, making a momentary stopover on the the roof of the hospital.

Posted 4/18/2012 10:22:00 PM by Robert

4/17, Activity in the Nest Bowl?

A day after seeing an adult Cathedral hawk do something I didn't think I'd seen before, it happened again. I arrived on Morningside Drive to again find one of the adults visible on the south side of the nest, fussing around a bit but also just looking at the bottom of the nest. A couple minutes later, just like yesterday, the hawk jumped up on St. Andrew's head.

Hawk on Head

But this time the hawk, again presumably Norman, spent five minutes or more just looking around. No sign of the other hawk.

Hawk on Head

But then after I took a half minute to switch to a different vantage point, I looked up to see...

Hawk on Head

Two hawks now, But the scene didn't last long as Norman took off for the hospital roof.


Isolde spent several minutes just sort of standing there near the side of the nest, looking down inside and occasionally fussing about. Hmmm, as any hawk watcher nows, this could be a major sign. Finally she settled down and I wandered off to see what Norman was up to.

Hawk on the Hospital Roof

Not much. Just watching pigeons. And definitely with no eye to eating one of them as several flew past him, and one even perched 15 feet away, without Norman making a move. He seemed to be just enjoying the nice evening.

Then in a non-nest switch-off. Isolde flew up and took Norman's spot on the hospital roof, and Norman took off, in the general direction of the nest. Isolde remained up there as the light dimmed.

Posted 4/17/2012 11:44:00 PM by Robert

4/16, Overhead Exit

The cathedral red-tailed hawks added a leafy green privacy screen to the north side of their nest over the weened, making it even more difficult to check for activity up there. But early Monday evening I did spot a tail sticking up on the south side as someone fussed around. A moment later, the other hawk flew in, and in what seems like the first time I've seen one of the adults do so, the first jumped up on St. Andrew's head.

Overhead Exit

Hmmm, I guess that's Norman. He looked around for a minute or so.

Overhead Exit

And then took off north, whether to a spot where there was food cached or to do some hunting, I couldn't say.

Posted 4/17/2012 04:57:00 PM by Robert

4/14, Baby Hawks in Highbridge

I reported five weekends ago that Martha was brooding, so I headed up to the north end of Highbridge Park today to see if there were baby red-tailed hawks to see. The trip took seemingly forever, due to dealing with what seems to be MTA's annual spring shutdown of the 1 train on weekends. But finally I got there and found Martha up and fussing about. A feeding? No, looks like she was just preening. She settled down after a minute.

Martha in Her Nest

But, hmmm, she does seem to be sitting a little high.

After 15 minutes she got back up, and... now that's feeding behavior. Yes, a fuzzy baby head.

Martha Feeds Her New Babies

No, make that two fuzzy baby heads.

Martha Feeds Her New Babies

Martha Feeds Her New Babies

And there's a baby hawk face.

Martha Feeds Her New Babies

The feeding was short, maybe five minutes. The babies wiggled around for a couple more minutes, perhaps tussled a bit. There was enough movement for me to wonder if there were maybe three. But then everyone settled back down.

Martha in Her Nest

Highbridge was followed by a quick but late hike up to Inwood Hill Park. The mama hawk there was settled too low in the nest to be seen, suggesting there was no hatch there yet. Another hawkwatcher who had already been there a while seemed of the same opinion.

Posted 4/14/2012 11:18:00 PM by Robert

4/12, Sitting and Waiting

Norman atop St. Luke's

A quiet evening at the Cathedral red-tailed hawk nest, but Norman did sneak into the scene just before 7:00. Apparently he had fulfilled his duties for the day. He perched on his favorite chimney cover at St. Luke's hospital and chilled out in the remaining daylight, preening and looking around.

Posted 4/12/2012 10:48:00 PM by Robert

4/11, Cathedral Switch-Off

Yes, it's been quiet around here. Although I've been over to the corner of 113th and Morningside Dr. numerous times in the past month, I only caught a couple quick glimpses of hawk activity in the area, and none at the nest. But today, moments after I arrived, a hawk flew up to the nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and a switch-off ensued as the other got up and flew out.

Cathedral Hawk

There was no follow-up switch-off that I saw, so it would appear that Isolde was returning from her dinner break and Norman was taking off for the evening.

I'm completely at sea in trying to guess when there will be a hatch at the Cathedral nest. It usually runs a week or a bit more after the first Manhattan nest hatches, which would suggest next week. The Washington Square Park red-tail nest has had both of its eggs hatch in recent days, and I expect that the Highbridge Park-Swindlers Cove nest has also hatched. The Inwood Hill nest will likely see a hatch any day now.

Posted 4/11/2012 09:00:00 PM by Robert