Manhattan Red-Tail Nest Checklist 2013

Repeating an idea from last year, here's a run-down on the definite and likely red-tailed hawk nest sites in Manhattan as the 2013 nesting season begins. It looks like there might be 10 Manhattan nests this year.

Working mostly from north to south, the nests are:

Inwood Hill Park:
There have been hawks nesting here for a long time, but this year they have relocated their nest quite a bit. The nest from the past couple years was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy and was also not far from an owl nest. The new site is 400 yards east in a more exposed treetop overlooking the Indian Road Playground at 214th St. The apartments across the street should have excellent views of the nest activity, but there is a decent viewing spot at ground level along the Seaman Ave. sidewalk for those with binoculars and long lenses. This has usually been one of the earliest nests in Manhattan to see a hatch each year, and 2013 looks to continue that trend as the female started brooding around March 15.

March 16

Highbridge Park/Swindlers Cove:
Another nest location that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and also re-located. The 2013 site is about 200 yards south of the 2010-2012 nest and directly across the Harlem River Drive from the Swindlers Cove boathouse gate. It's very viewable from a couple spots on a park path if you bring binoculars. This is also usually an early-hatch nest, but it might be running just a tad late this year, as the female was not yet brooding as of March 16. The nesting pair here are known as Martha and George as their nest locations in 2007-2009 were up the hill closer to George Washington High School.

Washington Heights/175th St.:
A new pair of red-tails successfully fledged two babies from a nest on an apartment building fire escape across Ft. Washington Ave. from J. Hood Wright Park in 2012. The nest was later removed as the building did maintenance on the fire escape, but the hawks remain in the area. In the past couple weeks, I have seen them soaring or perching at several points around the neighborhood, from JHW Park down past the medical center to 160th and Amsterdam. Stick collecting and possible nest sites have been reported at 171st St. and at 175th St. Hatch and fledge here last year were about a month later than elsewhere in Manhattan, and it seems like the adult hawks are running a bit slow again.

Hamilton Heights/CCNY:
There has been a nest located on a gargoyle high up the east side of CCNY's Shepard Hall for several years now, overlooking St. Nicholas Terrace and upper St. Nicholas Park. It's a tough nest to watch because it's so high up, and it seemed that 2011 was the first time that a hatch of baby hawks was definitely confirmed here. The father of the 2011 clutch died from frounce and the mother may have been struck by a car in early 2012. Nevertheless, it seemed that one or two replacement hawks filled in, as there was nesting activity here in 2012, although again without a hatch reported. Two adults have been seen in the usual pre-nesting activities in 2013.
+ For more about this nest, follow the Origin of Species blog.

Morningside Heights/Cathedral of St. John the Divine:
Since at least 2006, a nest has been located at the east end of the cathedral, high up the choir wall on the shoulders of a statue of St. Andrew and overlooking the south end of Morningside Park. It may have been constructed by hawks who had a nest in Central Park's North Woods in 2004. Because the nest bowl has gotten deeper as the hawks add sticks each year, this has become another difficult nest to watch until three to four weeks after the babies hatch. Schedule-wise, the St. John's nest has tended to run a bit later than Inwood and Highbridge, but in 2013 it looks like they are on about the same schedule. The hawks here in 2012 were Isolde and Norman, but Norman is believed to have been the adult hawk killed in northern Central Park by Hurricane Sandy.
+ For more about this nest, also follow the Origin of Species blog.

Randalls Island/Icahn Stadium:
A site omitted from last year's list because it isn't on Manhattan Island (and perhaps because I just completely forgot about it), but technically it is in the borough of Manhattan. This nest is located at the top of a light tower just outside of Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island, not far from the Triborough Bridge and also not far from the peregrines who nest at the psychiatric center. The tower is not actually part of the stadium but overlooks the soccer field outside the north side of the stadium. I'm not sure of nest timing here, although I have a dim suspicion that it runs a bit later than the rest of the Manhattan nests.

Central Park West/92nd St.:
Reports came in in mid-February of a pair of adult hawks scouting out a nesting location on Central Park West in the 90s. The first reported site quickly fell by the wayside, but they are still in the area and sometimes seen carrying sticks. As of mid-March it appears they are working on a nest at the corner of 92nd St., a block from the Eldorado.
+ For more about this nest, also follow the Urban Hawks blog.

Riverside Park/Boat Basin:
I initially wondered whether the new CPW hawks might be from Riverside Park. The 2012 adult hawks in Riverside were both replacements for a pair who had nested near the Boat Basin and died of rat poisoning. In the summer of 2012, the replacements were spotted checking out a couple different nesting locations a bit farther up Riverside Drive but it was never really confirmed that they nested. But a report in late March 2013 suggests that there are still two hawks in Riverside, often seen near or atop the Normandy apartments and perhaps nest building somewhere around 84th St.

Fifth Ave./74th St.:
Probably the most famous hawk nest in the world, located on a ritzy co-op apartment building overlooking Central Park at 74th St. Although there has been rapid turnover in the female hawks at the nest over the past few years (a disappearance, a case of rat-poisoning, and who knows what else), the constant is that Palemale has ruled this area of Central Park for going on 20 years. The current female is Octavia. After a long dry spell, there were hatches here in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, it was reported that Octavia had started brooding about March 14.
+ For more about this nest, follow the website and Urban Hawks blog.

Fifth Ave./Crown Building:
A pair of adult hawks appeared at the southeast corner of Central Park in early 2012, but the female was apparently one of the victims in the streak of rat-poisoning cases that early March. It looks like the male stuck around, but who is it that he has been consorting with? Did he find a new female? Was Octavia from 74th St. two-timing Palemale? Inquiring minds want to know. Mating and stick collecting on the Plaza Hotel and the Crown Building have been observed in 2013, but no one has quite figured out what's really going on up there.
+ For more about this nest, follow the roger_paw blog.

NYU/Washington Square:
Nest first constructed in 2011 on a window ledge at NYU's Bobst Library, outside the office window of the university president and overlooking Washington Square Park. This site seems to have taken over as Manhattan's earliest hatch site, as in 2012 and 2013, the female started brooding eggs a week or so before Inwood. NYU should have a nestcam set up to watch the nest any day now. The female here since 2012 is known as Rosie. The male since the nest was first built in 2011 is Bobby, named for the Bobst library.
+ For more about this nest, follow the NYU Hawkcam, or the Urban Hawks and roger_paw blogs.

Posted 3/21/2013 07:22:00 PM by Robert

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1 Comment:

On 3/22/2013 12:31 PM , AnnOfOrange said...

I think that this is the 3rd season for the WSP hawks on Bobst. There was Pip in 2011, the twins in 2012, and now 3 eggs for 2013!