June 29, 2015

Manhattan 2015 Nest Checklist Update 3

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2635

It's almost July, and Manhattan's baby red-tailed hawks have been fledging from their nests and causing chaos on the local rooftops and in the neighborhood parks.

Following is a list of the twelve nests that were brooding eggs in mid-April. It looks like eleven have had hatches, with one of them on the second try of the season. A total of 24 baby hawks have been observed, although that will go up once we get a look at the nestlings in nest eleven.

As of this writing, it looks like nine of the ten nests on the "normal" schedule have fledged all their babies. The tenth had just one baby, which died before fledging.

Background about the twelve nests can be read here. Previous updates appeared here and here.

  Location Hatched Fledged Notes
1. East Village/Ageloff Towers 3 3 First hatch about May 1. Two nestlings fledged June 20, third June 23.
2. NYU/Washington Square 2 2 Both eggs hatched by April 27. Fledged June 14 and 15.
3. Central Park Sheep Meadow 3 3 First hatch before May 9. First fledge June 23.
4. Fifth Ave. at 74th St. 3 3 First hatch about April 26. Two fledged June 13, third June 16.
5. CPW/Beresford Apts. No -- Failed.
6. West End Ave./80s 1 0 One baby. Died about June 10 before fledging.
7. St. John the Divine Yes -- First try failed. Second clutch hatched mid/late June; nestlings not yet observed.
8. CCNY Shepard Hall 2 2? Hatch about April 18-20. Nest empty June 7; both nestlings presumably fledged.
9. Wright Park/Ft. Washington Ave. 3 3 Hatch about May 1-5. First fledge June 21/22; last about June 26.
10. Gorman Park/Fairview Ave. 3 3 Hatch about April 22-24. All nestlings fledged between June 7 and 14.
11. Highbridge Park/Swindler Cove 2 2? Hatch date unknown. Nest empty June 27; both nestlings presumably fledged.
12. Inwood Hill Park 2 2 Hatch date unknown. Both nestlings reported fledged as of June 14.

In addition to the above nesting sites, there might have been a couple others in Manhattan this year. Most credibly, hawks were reported in early May to be collecting sticks on a fire escape on Third Ave. in Spanish Harlem.

June 28, 2015

6/28, St. John the Divine

On a gray Sunday afternoon, Madeleine the cathedral red-tailed hawk was again visible in her nest, watching the neighborhood, preening, and finally, feeding what seems to be more than one small nestling.

At 4:30, she was perched with her back to the nest contents, looking out over Morningside Park.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3397

Not long later she turned around to give a little attention to the nest interior.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3413

But although she fussed briefly inside the nest, she spent most of the next 20-25 minutes preening. Sometimes she looked back over a shoulder.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3421

Meanwhile I cast about to see if there were any other spots along Morningside Drive where there might be a good vantage.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3462

Round about 5:00 I found an okay spot right at the intersection of 113th St. that I had previously missed.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3489

From that spot it seemed that I could see Madeleine checking at least two spots in the nest, suggesting two or three babies up there.

Moments later, Madeleine was bent over the nest and for the next 15 minutes, all I saw of her was a feathery posterior. The 5:00 feeding was in progress.

Addendum: The Urban Hawks blog has video of the feeding.

June 27, 2015

6/27, J. Hood Wright Park

Saturday afternoon as the rain began to fall, I checked on the J. Hood Wright Park red-tailed hawk nest. The first of the three babies there fledged last Sunday and a second might have also. There was a possibility that one was still in the nest, but I found it empty.

Only one of the fledglings was out where he could be spotted, perched on a fire escape overlooking the park's basketball courts.

Wright Park Hawk Fledgling - 3329

It was apparent he'd been fed sometime recently.

Wright Park Hawk Fledgling - 3332

So he had nothing to do except perch in the rain and watch the neighborhood.

Wright Park Hawk Fledgling - 3333

And try to void being frightened by that curtain flapping in a wide-open window nearby.

Wright Park Hawk Fledgling - 3346

Stare at something on the ground a little more.

Wright Park Hawk Fledgling - 3359

And then as the rain got heavier, time to vacate. Good idea.

June 26, 2015

6/26, St. John the Divine

Madeleine the hawk was again perched on the side of her nest early Friday evening, keeping an eye on something within and also watching the world around her. She seemed to be keeping an eye on me, as I made the circuit of viewing points from 113th St. up to 115th St., then down and over to Manhattan Ave., and finally down along 110th St.

Cathedral Hawk Nest - 3219

After a half hour or so, I discovered Norman had snuck in to the area and was perched nearby on a hospital chimney.

Norman - 3281

A few minutes later he flew over to join Madeleine in the nest.

Madeleine and Norman - 3301

He left quickly thereafter. I thought a feeding might follow, but Madeleine also flew off a few moments later.

6/25, St. John the Divine

While baby hawks are fledging from all the other nest in Manhattan, there is a suggestion that the red-tail nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine has actually had a hatch from the second clutch. Perhaps it occurred several days or even a week ago, but I'd been unable to visit the site for some time.

Thursday at 6:00 I found Madeleine perched on the side of the nest.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 2960

Every now and then she would lean into the nest, maybe fuss a bit, but most of the time she was just looking around.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3010

Madeleine in Her Nest - 3024

Around 6:20, Madeleine began to pay much more attention to the nest contents. Then about 6:30, Norman flew in. A consultation ensued.

Consultation - 3105

Norman departed a minute and a half later, at which point Madeleine began what looked very much like a feeding.

Feeding Time? - 3145

Unfortunately, with the nest site so high, if there are baby hawks up there, it could be another week before a fuzzy head pops up enough to be visible to watchers on the ground.

June 14, 2015

6/14, Fairview Ave. Fledge

The baby hawks at the Gorman Park nest, overlooking Fairview Ave., were almost the first to hatch in Manhattan this season, so I expected there to be a fledge this past week. Sunday afternoon, I found the nest empty. All three baby hawks had vacated.

Just before beginning the schlep up Fairview Ave. to get a better look at all the fire escapes, I spotted one baby hawk out of the corner of my eye.

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2674

He was perched on a TV antenna halfway along Broadway Terrace, a short flight from the nest site.

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2646

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2635

There was no sign of either of its siblings. Possibly I heard one of them begging, although those seemingly distant noises may have come from the one above, who did call out loudly a few times. Perhaps one of the parents was visible flying over to Fort Tryon Park.

The fledge did move about, causing the antenna to sway around. He settled on a position bang atop the upright.

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2735

Continually looking around.

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2739

And preening just a bit.

Fairview Ave. Fledgling - 2742

Although I hadn't spotted the sibs, I did hear later that there had been a fledgling red-tail perched on a fire escape a block and a half north at the corner of Hillside and Bogardus.

6/14, J. Hood Wright Park

Fledging season may be happening for Manhattan's red-tailed hawk nestlings, but at J. Hood Wright Park in Washington Heights, I found the three babies still in the nest. All three look big enough to leave, but the two youngest still have a fair amount of baby fuzz around the eyes, suggesting it could be another week for them. The oldest, though, might be ready to go by mid week.

Stepping out of the nearby subway station, I found one nestling in the usual spot in the corner of the nest keeping an eye on the goings-on below.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nestling - 2516

It was warm and sunny, and there was hardly any flapping. Just a few pardon-me flaps as the baby hawks stumbled about the nest sticks.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nestlings - 2519

Yes, I see you.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nestling - 2521

One baby in the nest started trundling along the fire escape. Watching its progress, I found mama was in the back of the nest.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nest - 2523

No idea what she was doing back there other than panting in the sun's heat.

The third baby was at the other end of the fire escape platform.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nestlings - 2528

Nestling one and mama.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nest - 2531

The wandering nestling started back toward the nest.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nestling - 2544

Oh, hey. The family is complete. Dad is here.

Dad Delivers - 2568

He looked about a moment and then hopped down where everybody else was at.

J. Hood Wright Hawk - 2574

Ah, dad is delivering a pigeon. The kids must have all eaten recently, though, because no seemed too excited about the food.

Someone Ordered Pigeon? - 2575

And then, zip, dad departed.

Mom moved along the fire escape. What the heck is she up to?

J. Hood Wright Hawks - 2590

And then back to the nest.

J. Hood Wright Hawk Nest - 2606

Well, it looks like there's not going to be much action around here until the day cools down a bit. Time for me to move on.

June 11, 2015

6/11, St. John the Divine

Thursday evening at about 6:00 at the hawk nest at St. John the Divine was a pretty close repeat to Wednesday at that time. Madeleine sat up in the nest and looked around for a few minutes.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 2486

Fussed about a bit, and then settled back down within.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to recall when I last saw Norman at the nest. Been a while.

June 10, 2015

6/10, St. John the Divine

Even as baby red-tailed hawks begin to fledge from nests around Manhattan, we're still wondering if there are baby hawks at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I have had occasional glimpses of Madeleine in the cathedral nest during the could weeks, sometimes just glimpses of her tail feathers poking up or a head peeking for half a minute.

Wednesday was another example of that. Around a quarter to six, the nest looked inactive. A few minutes later, Madeleine got up and looked around.

Madeleine in Her Nest - 2404

A minute later Madeleine started fussing about in the nest, then after minute or two of that she started settling down. The tips of her tail feathers were briefly visible, and then no hint of her presence at all. From first sighting of her to disappearance was less than five minutes.

So it appears Madeleine is still incubating eggs. If there's to be a hatch from the supposed second clutch, it seems like it should be this week or perhaps early next week. If not, one wonders how long Madeleine will keep at it before giving up.

June 8, 2015

6/7, Lazy Sunday at Uptown Nests

On a very fine Sunday afternoon, I made a circuit of three of upper Manhattan's red-tailed hawk nests. At two, I found the young hawks lazily enjoying the day, but at the third, a suggestion of Manhattan's first fledges of 2015.

First up, at J. Hood Wright Park, two of the nestlings were looking out from the fire escape nest, much like Statler and Waldorf in their balcony seats on the Muppet Show.

JHW Hawk Nestlings - 2165

JHW Hawk Nestlings - 2171

But where was baby number three? There's somebody else toward the back of the nest.

JHW Hawk Nest - 2184

Hold it, though, feather color is wrong. That's an adult back there.

JHW Hawk Nest - 2189

Indeed. Nestling number three was taking a nap and mama was providing some shade.

Not long later there was some fussing about back there, and the third nestling was briefly in view. But immediately one of the two up-front nestlings muscled in as it angled for its own shaded spot under mama's wings.

JHW Hawk Nest - 2207

And mama lives but to serve.

JHW Hawk Nest - 2221

JHW Hawk Nest - 2225

It looked like the JHW Park hawks were going to continue relaxing under the sun, so I moved on north to another nest.

First view of the Gorman Park nest 15 blocks away revealed three hawks in view, two in the nest and one on the fire escape railing a few feet above.

Gorman Park Hawk Nest - 2229

But let's re-consider that look. Although initial appearance suggest two nestlings fussing around in the nest and an adult on the railing, a closer view says that's a baby hawk on the railing. And the coloring of one hawk in the nest says it's an adult.

Moments later, the adult in the nest popped up onto the railing. It's mama, perching alongside a child who has already learned the usefulness of railings.

Gorman Park Hawk Nest - 2232

Mama must have been sharing some food. She wiped her beak on the railing a couple times. Then she took off, headed toward Fort Tryon Park.

Mom Departs - 2235

So that's two nestlings we've seen in the Gorman Park nest. Where's the third?

Three Nestlings a Roaming - 2246

Wandering around on the far end of the fire escape. Look closer, over toward the left end. You can just see his head poking up where he's been peeking in an apartment window.

Three Nestlings - 2253

It seems exciting that one of the Gorman Park babies has managed to fly up onto the railing, but then it becomes apparent that it didn't. It's been using the fire escape stairs to go up and down, and so only needs to hop back and forth a foot or so.

It stretches a bit, then hops over onto the stair. Looks around a bit, then back over onto the railing.

Sticking the Landing - 2299

A very short flight, just a hop. But still, it's already able to stick a landing.

Moving on and heading back south... Past visits had indicated that the baby hawks in the CCNY nest were the oldest in Manhattan and old enough to fledge this past week. Checking that nest at the end of the afternoon, I found it empty.

I looked around the St. Nicholas Terrace and the CCNY campus for a while looking for a fledgling, but no luck. The only hawk to be seen was one adult who perched on the Shepard Hall flagpole for a few minutes.

CCNY Hawk - 2333

So it seems that both the CCNY baby red-tailed hawks fledged from the nest this past week. There was no sign of them below, but the terrain of St. Nicholas Park makes looking for fledglings very difficult.