June 28, 2013

6/28, Late Gathering

Early Friday evening initially revealed only one of the St. John's cathedral red-tailed hawk fledglings perched in view. He was up on the high ledge between the nave and crossing.


Casting about the area over the next 30 minutes did not reveal the other two fledges. But after the third or fourth check back on the one already found, I discovered it moved somewhere out of view. Minutes later it popped off a spire on the side of the cathedral's West Front, did a circle around the parking lot and returned to the spire. A minute there and then another circle over the lot and up to an eave on the side of the nave.


Begging noises revealed another fledge on the dome cap above the hospital entrance, and then momma Isolde came flying over south to north.

The first fledge shifted over to the top of the un-started tower on the north side of the West Front.


Another pass over the area by mama Isolde, and then the fledge on the hospital roof flew over to join its sib top the West front. And then the third fledgling also came off the hospital roof and flew over to join them.

The three fledglings hung out together for about 5-10 minutes. But when Isolde briefly re-appeared perched atop the hospital, two of them flew back over that direction while the third disappeared from view. Isolde didn't stay, leaving the fledglings to poke around the hospital roof for uneaten meals.

June 27, 2013

6/26, Dispersed Cathedral Fledglings

Wednesday evening after the brief rain shower found the three Cathedral of St.John red-tail fledglings dispersed, not even two of them hanging out together as they have often been seen.

First sighting was from a distance, with one hopping about on the wood structure atop the unbuilt transept. By the time I reached the area, it was out of sight, but perched some 70-80 feet up between the nave and crossing was a second bird.

Fledge on High

Preening and scratching was all it had on it s agenda.

Oooh, Gotta Scratch

Squirrel whining near the corner of Morningside Drive eventually led to the discovery of the third fledgling perched in a tree alongside the street outside the entrance to the hospital Plant Pavilion.

RT Fledge on Morningside Drive

Only the second time I have seen one of the fledges in a tree, although evidence scattered along the sidewalks suggests it's just my bad timing.

Again, the fledge seemed to have little more than preening on its mind.

RT Fledge on Morningside Drive

It did shift 10 feet further along the branch, but not for any obvious reason. Some 15-20 minutes later, one of the neighborhood robins finally contributed an alarm call to alert others of the fledgling's presence.

Back over at the cathedral, the fledge high up the wall had disappeared, but a quick scan revealed it simply flew across the street to the roof of the Minturn Pavilion.

As I moved to a spot that should provide a better angle for a photo, I almost walked right up to the first fledgling, who had dropped off the transept and onto a guard hut.

Fledge on Guard Post

Jes' lookin' around here.

Fledge on Guard Post

Stare. Stare. Stare.

June 26

Hmmm, something interesting over by the stonecutters' shed?

Fledge on Guard Post

And off he went. First to a tree near the shed, then an attempt to return to the transept but a foot too low, a circle around the parking lot, then down 113th St. at cartop level and across the other parking lot to the top of a lamp post.

Fledge on a Lamp

Okay, getting late and dark. Must settle down and preen.

June 25, 2013

6/25, Rooftop Chorus

Wednesday evening, the three cathedral fledges all perched close together and tried to sing for their dinner. Unfortunately, mama did not respond with food.

First sighting was a fledgling playing around on the hospital roof between the Plant and Minturn pavilions. After disappearing from view for a few minutes he popped back up and flew across the street to a rooftop turret along the cathedral apse.

Fledgling on a Turrett

A second fledgling had appeared 100 feet to the west on the crossing arch.

Fledgling on the Arch

Then mama Isolde appeared and landed on a nave spire.


Two fledges got excited, and the one on the turret flew over to the roof of the nave below Isolde's perch. But even as he was in the air, she took off and started circling overhead.


As she circled, another bird appeared in the air. The third fledgling.

But after a half minute of circling, Isolde headed out. The three fledges all ended up perched along the crossing arch.

Three Fledges on the Arch

Every now and again, one would hop down into the low area between the arch and the crossing dome, then after a bit re-appear a bit further up the arch.

Fledgings on the Arch

There were scattered begging noises as all this went on.

Eventually all three fledges were perched side by side.

Fledgings on the Arch

And the singing... er, begging... got louder and more frequent, sometimes two together.

June 23

It turned out that mama Isolde was perched across the street on the high chimney at the hospital. And she was studiously ignoring the kids. The father came buzzing overhead at one point, too, but he ignored everybody and just kept flying south.

After a good half hour of this, the fledge on the left finally decided to make some effort. It took to the air, with the fledge in the middle in close pursuit. They landed above the hospital entrance, on the cap where the dome used to be, and started poking around. Perhaps they found some food scraps, as they hunched over one spot for some time. Meanwhile, mama was suffering strafing passes from one of the neighborhood kestrels.

Isolde and Two Fledges

Eventually I had to leave. Looking back from Amsterdam, it appeared that all three hawks on the hospital roof had also made an exit.

June 23, 2013

6/22, Washington Heights Fledge

As expected, the two young hawks in the Washington Heights fire escape nest fledged this past week. Casting about the noisy neighborhood park late Saturday afternoon, I eventually found one of them hopping about a cellphone antenna atop an apartment building two blocks from the nest.

Washington Heights Fledge

June 22

Finally it perched on one of the antenna panels and stayed, preening for the next 45 minutes or more.

Washington Heights Fledge

Sunset crept closer.

Washington Heights Fledge

Eventually the fledge got up and took off, landing on the roof of the nearby school. It hopped about there for a minute and disappeared from view.

No sign of the other fledgling. One of the parents was in the area, perched on a water tower at the corner of Broadway and 173rd., for much of the time.

6/21, Friday on 113th St

Early Friday evening again found two of the cathedral red-tail fledglings perched on the roof of the hospital Plant Pavilion.

June 21

But they were active and both soon worked their way up to the top of the chimney where mama Isolde likes to perch.

Cathedral Fledges

Eventually I found the third fledgling perched on a finial on the southeast side of cathedral apse roof, but in a moment it dove off and into the area between the Cathedral School and the Avalon condos.

I worked my way around the block to see where the third fledge might have gone. But first there was the sight of the hawk father soaring south from the cathedral, circling around, and then drifiting down to perch on the Verizon building in Manhattan Valley.

And, oh, there's mama Isolde up on Gabriel's horn.


And while I was walking around, the fledge had returned to an apse finial. But again it was off, this time headed north.

Back on 113th St. I scanned about for any of the young hawks, but all were apparently out of view. But hold it, there's a smudge along the eave of the cathedral nave, and oh, there's another fledge in the gap between the nave and crossing dome. Minutes later they both came flying back across the street, the follower screeching. Atop the hospital again, they joined their sib.

All Three Cathedral Fledges

The trio stayed together for about 10 minutes before the one on the left decided it had had enough of sibling camaraderie. It flew back to the cathedral, leaving two preening and stretching on the rooftop railing.

Such a Cramp I Had

June 20, 2013

6/19, Wednesday on 113th St.

An almost perfect early Wednesday evening found the St.John's cathedral hawk family all too be seen. And all the three fledglings are showing their growing flying ability, soaring across 113th St. and landing way, way up.

First view was momma Isolde at the west end of St. Luke's hospital dealing with the pesky neighborhood kestrels.

Hawk vs Kestrel

I must have just caught the tail end of the disturbance as she was able to take a breather after that attack.

Hawk on Hospital

At the east end of the hospital, on the roof of the Plant Pavilion, two of the fledglings were lurking together.

Cathedral Fledges A & B

The lower might have been checking out the remnants of a previous meal to see if there were any titbits remaining.

Cathedral Fledges A & B

Both were doing some begging.

Cathedral Fledge B

Okay, now the fledge who was on the right is now on the left, and vice versa.

Cathedral Fledges B & A

And more begging. Is there a parent somewhere that I haven't spotted?

Cathedral Fledges B & A

And then shortly after, the fledges split up. One flew over to the top of the hospital's Minturn Pavilion. Then the other opted to fly across the street to the roof the cathedral apse.

Cathedral Fledge B in Flight

The latter had flown toward a parent, Mr. X, the father.

June 19

But poppa almost immediately took off, leaving the fledge alone on the finial, directly above the nest.

Back on the hospital roof, the fledge has disappeared. Then a young hawk appeared atop the old dome base above the hospital entrance. Then another popped alongside. Again, it seemed they might be checking out the rooftop for the remnants of an earlier meal.

Cathedral Fledges A & C

WIthin a few minutes, both fledglings atop the hospital flew across the street and landed on the arch along the side of the cathedral crossing. Again it looked like they were checking about for food that might have been left behind earlier. Nothing doing, and aside from occasional begging noises, they settled down to preen.

And the fledge, atop the finial?

Fledge B on FInial

Preening there, too.

June 16, 2013

6/15, Washington Heights

The two young hawks in the Washington Heights red-tailed hawk nest are ready to fledge any time. Near sunset on Saturday, there was lots of wing stretching from the younger bird and some serious flapping from the older.

The younger nestling...


The mother was around much of the time, although later on she took off, came back with some food, left, and then came back again.

Momma in the Sunset Light

The younger nestling between gulps...


The older nestling.


June 15, 2013

6/14, Friday on 113th St.

Early Friday evening revealed two of the fledglings and both parents from the cathedral hawk family in view along 113th St. Photos are few, however, as it took some time to figure why the white balance on my camera was messed up.

The two fledges were on the roof of the Plant Pavilion of St. Luke's Hospital, mostly preening.

Fledge on the Plant Pavilion

Although one started wandering about and soon ended up close to its sib.

Two Fledges on the Plant Pavilion

When a parent alit on the old dome platform above the hospital entrance, both fledges flew over to the roof of the Minturn Pavilion, then managed to end up out of site of anyone watching below. The parent was soon joined by the other; possibly there was a meal delivery, with the male having arriving first with food for female.

In any event, some 20 minutes later no hawk was in sight, and then Isolde returned to land on the Plant Pavilion.


Then she switched over to a spire on the side of the unbuilt north tower on the cathedral's West Front.

June 14

June 14, 2013

6/13, Learning to Land

Thursday evening before the rain started, two cathedral hawk fledglings were in view. One was already learning how to stick a landing.

The initial sighting revealed both fledges on the roof of Boniface chapel, one eating part of pigeon and the other just hanging about. The latter eventually decided to move on and took the short flight over to the roof of Ansgar chapel, then while I wasn't looking alit on a spire.

Two Saints and a Fledgling

The breeze was picking up, and staying there wasn't entirely easy.

June 13

Meanwhile, momma Isolde was across the street watching.

Isolde Watching

As rain started to fall, the finial fledge flew to another finial, his flight perhaps aided by a headwind which allowed for landing preparations. The other fledge in view finished its meal and began to wander about the chapel roof.

Two Fledglings on a Gray Evening

Time to exit. One hopes the fledglings found a dry spot to hide.