May 18, 2012

5/18, Fine Friday

A fine but cool Friday evening again found the cathedral hawk nest fairly quiet. Isolde was perched atop the cathedral on Gabriel's horn.

Isolde and Gabriel

But except for the top of a fuzzy head just visible through the sticks, there was nothing to see at the nest.

Isolde made her exit 20 minutes later. I made a pass through Morningside Park and found that the great egret was still around. When I returned to 113th St., one of the hawk nestlings was perking up.

Cathedral Nestling

He wandered (as much as one can wander) around the nest for about five minutes and then settled back down.

May 17, 2012

5/17, Morningside Egret

Early Thursday evening found Isolde perched on the tall hospital chimney where she could keep on the cathedral nest and much of the rest of the neighborhood.


The nest itself was quiet, no nestlings to be seen. I wandered into Morningside Park and found one of spring's seasonal visitors at the pond.

Morningside Egret

Morningside Egret

Eventually heading back uphill, I found the nest still quiet. But Norman had joined Isolde on the chimney cover.

Isolde and Norman

Five or ten minutes later, he decided it was time to do something else.

See Ya Later, Honey

But Isolde looked like she was staying put.

Amsterdam Rose

May 16, 2012

5/16, Cathedral at Four Weeks

Wednesday probably marked four weeks since the second egg hatched at the red-tailed hawk nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. That means the baby hawks are now growing in tawny breast feathers, and their wing and back feathers are looking very dark. They may also be close to the age when they can pull their own food off a carcass; if not, they're at least doing some pecking.

Views of the nestlings were almost non-existent for some time early Wednesday evening. Just a few glimpses of one baby head peeking around St. Andrew.

Peek-a-boo Nestling

I was on the way out along 113th St. when I took one last look back at the nest and saw some activity. Mama Isolde had arrived. She did't stay more than a minute, and then she was off.

Isolde Exits

Isolde Exits

Isolde Exits

She wasn't carrying any garbage out, but perhaps she delivered a small meal. For the next five or six minutes, both baby hawks (it still looks like just two) were up and leaning over something.

Two Nestlings

Soon enough, they were sitting back down in the nest, with an occasional head poking up for a look-around.

5/15, Rainy Day Tuesday

The only hawk to be seen at the cathedral on Tuesday was, well, not very active. Norman was perched atop the unfinished tower on the West Front, watching over Amsterdam Ave. and 112th St. and preening his soggy feathers.

Norman, Under a Gray Sky

An hour later, he was still in the same spot, visible from Broadway.

Spot the Hawk

5/11, Quiet Friday

Friday evening at the red-tail nest at the cathedral was quiet. The kids were sleeping, with Isolde sitting alongside watching over.

Isolde, Watching

May 10, 2012

5/10, Quiet Evening

Dinner at the cathedral red-tailed hawk nest must have been around 6:00 because all was quiet when I arrived 15 or 20 minutes later. Isolde was keeping an eye on the nest while enjoying the cool, clear air from a perch about 175 yards away atop the Cathedral Gardens dormitory. A few minutes later she took off and circled around

Isolde over Manhattan Valley

But rather than return to the nest, she turned south and headed toward the west side of the Great Hill or perhaps the Pool.

The nestlings snoozed away. One did eventually perk up and flap its wings a bit, showing the half inch or so of feathers growing from its wings, and shyly checking on the photographer.

Shy Cathedral Nestling

But that activity last less than 10 minutes before it returned to napping.

May 9, 2012

5/9, Cathedral Nestlings in View

At three weeks since hatch, today seemed like the day to finally get a first look at the nestlings in the red-tailed hawk nest at St. John the Divine. Sure enough, one was visible when I first arrived at the nest site in the early evening, and in moments there was a second.

First Look at Cathedral Nestlings

Big enough to stand up and look out over the nest edge. One suspects that the nestlings would have been visible if someone had had the patience to mount a long watch on the nest over the weekend.

First Look at Cathedral Nestlings

Big enough that when one of the duo stands up to try flapping its little wings, Mama Isolde has to lean aside lest she get smacked on the beak.

Little Wing Flaps

After ten or fifteen minutes, the little ones quit wiggling around so much and settled down for a nap. The fuzz of one could just barely be seen through the nest sticks.

Papa Norman flew in about 7:00 with food.

Norman Delivers Dinner

He conferred with Isolde with less than a minute before taking off and flying across the street to his favorite perch on a hospital chimney. There was no feeding to immediately follow at the nest, although the wiggling around did become more active for a bit.

So for the moment, the expected two nestlings in the cathedral nest have revealed themselves. It's still possible that there is a third, as the cathedral nest has a history of a third hatch but with a slow revelation of the third baby. Last year it was right about four weeks after first hatch before the extra nestling was discovered. So we'll see.

May 5, 2012

5/4, Along 113th Street

Friday marked what was probably 17 days since an egg hatched at the red-tailed hawk nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Due to the depth of the nest bowl created by the accumulation of sticks over the years, one still can't see the nestlings. Nevertheless, it's apparent they're up there.

Early on a very pleasant Friday evening, it was all quiet at the nest, but belatedly, both parents, Norman and Isolde, were found perched across the street on the roof of St. Luke's Hospital.

Norman and Isolde on the Hospital Roof

Just 20 or 30 feet apart, which in hawk terms is about equivalent to sitting next to each other on the couch to watch TV.

Ten minutes later, Isolde perked up.

Norman and Isolde on the Hospital Roof

But she wasn't heading back to the nest. No, she had decide to switch to one of the spires along the nave at the cathedral.

Isolde on Cathedral Nave Spire

Where she stayed for the next half hour or more. Some preening of her breast feathers, some looking around.

Isolde on Cathedral Nave Spire

Close to 7:00, Norman departed from his perch on the hospital rooftop railing, an event which might have gone un-noticed except that Isolde glanced over to watch him leave. A minute or two later she too departed her perch on the spire, only to be found over on a different section of hospital roof, snacking on a cached morsel.

From there she hopped about the hospital roof a bit, first scraping the schmutz off her beak on a cornice.

Beak Wipe

Then hopping up to a railing for just a moment, and from there leaping off...

Isolde Leaps

To perch on one of the rooftop decorative urns for a couple minutes.

Isolde on the Hospital Roof

And finally, a flight back to the nest.

What looked like a quick 5-minute feeding ensued, with Isolde paying to attention to at least two different targets in the nest bowl. And then as light faded, she shifted over to the far side to watch the nestlings and the sunset light over Harlem.