December 29, 2016

12/28, Riverside Park in the 110s

A walk along the Riverside Park wall early Wednesday afternoon again found a red-tailed hawk perched just inside the park, across from where 114th St. meets Riverside Drive. Presumably this was the same hawk who was just a tree or two away late Monday afternoon.

Riverside Red-tail - 0940

Riverside Red-tail - 0941

The light was much better than two days ago, so it was plain that this was definitely an adult hawk.

Riverside Red-tail - 0949

Also looks a bit small, suggesting that this is a male. He reminded me of the hawk who was busy hunting a block or two up back at the start of March.

Riverside Red-tail - 0956

So one wonders, is this the male hawk from this past season's 116th St. nest? Or the male from Grant's Tomb hunting to the south? Or some other guy visiting the area?

Riverside Red-tail - 0964

Not too many minutes later, the hawk decided the hunting near the park wall wasn't that good — no pigeons, squirrels or other meal-sized prey in sight — and flew downhill to see if the hunting was better there.

Riverside Red-tail - 0971

December 26, 2016

12/26, Riverside Park in the 110s

It's winter, which means that should you have time for a stroll in or by a park, it's much easier to spot any hawks who might be lurking about. Late Monday afternoon, just before sunset, I strolled up Riverside Drive in the Morningside Heights neighborhood, and found a red-tailed hawk in Riverside Park between 114th St. and 115th St., about two blocks south of where this past summer's 116th St. nest was (and still is) located.

Riverside Juvenile Red-tail - 0867

It was casually watching the area, but not peering around intently as it would if it were hunting. Perhaps it was simply digesting and drying off.

Riverside Juvenile Red-tail - 0868

Riverside Juvenile Red-tail - 0884

Extreme photo manipulation on Photoshop suggests that the bird was an adult. Although the overall tail color was not obvious because of the gloomy light, there seems to be only a single dark transverse bar near the tip of the tail feathers rather than the multiple stripes of a juvenile's brown tail.

Riverside Juvenile Red-tail - 0887

Fifteen minutes later up the street at Grant's Tomb, I found what appeared to be both of the resident pair of adult red-tails going to roost for the night on opposites sides of the walkway leading to the monument. Unfortunately, by that point it was just past sunset, and the light was too poor for photography.

July 22, 2016

St. John's Miscellany

Hawk sightings at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine have been hit-and-miss over the past month. It has again been three weeks since I have seen any of this year's kids in the area, so it would seem that if the remaining two have not got into trouble, they are no longer around. I have wondered if they migrated to the north end of Central Park, where I am less likely to visit.

In any event, following are a handful of photos from the past four weeks...

First, sightings of a fledgling perched atop the archangel Gabriel on Monday, June 27.

Gabriel & Fledge - 0304
Gabriel & Fledge - 0324

And two days later, a fledgling perched on the Avalon apartments at 110th and MSD, overlooking the cathedral grounds and preening.

Cathedral Fledgling - 0339
Cathedral Fledgling - 0345
Cathedral Fledgling, Preening - 0356

That was the last definite sighting I made of one of the fledglings. Occasional sightings of adult hawks have occurred since then.

For example, one of the parents atop their favorite chimney/vent cover at St. Luke's hospital on Friday, July 8.

Cathedral Hawk - 0381

And again atop the hospital on Wednesday, July 13. This time I think it was the father, Norman.

Cathedral Hawk - 0398

June 24, 2016

6/24, St. John the Divine

Who's the Hawk? 0242

After two weeks of frustration, unable to find one of the hawk fledglings from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in a half dozen visits, I checked again on Friday evening. A hawk was perched on Gabriel's horn, but I'd found mama Madeleine up there a couple times last week.

Hard to tell from this angle, though, what color the tail is. Let's hope it stays there while we get round to the other side and get a look at its front.

Gabriel and Fledgling - 0263

Tawny breast, dark belly band, and a squinty near-sighted look. It's one of the two fledglings we've been looking for. Finally.

The fledge stayed in place while we wondered around the area looking for the other sibling. No luck on that front.

It had seemed to be watching the southeast, and eventually it took off flying that way. High up, almost high enough to make one think it could be heading for Central Park. But it stopped halfway there, perching atop the Cathedral Gardens dorm.

Hawk Fledgling - 0290

Seven or eight minutes there and it thought better of the decision. Back into the air.

Fledge in Flight - 0297

Bank left.

Fledge in Flight - 0298

And out of sight behind a building as it headed back in the general direction of the cathedral.

In other positive news for the day, hawkwatcher Melody A. reported that she had encountered the surviving Riverside and 116th red-tail fledgling this morning. So we know two of Morningside Heights' young hawks seem to be doing okay.

June 17, 2016

Sad Hawk News

Cathedral Fledgling - 9355

The blog has been quiet a while, right in the middle of what should be one of the busiest times for watching young hawks. Much of that has been because I have had poor luck in finding hawk fledglings so there has been little news to report, but it's also because the news has been bad.

As you may have heard, the red-tail fledgling from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine who was injured and taken to rehab has died. She had managed to fly as far as Manhattan Ave. in the 109th-110th area and crashed. Although no broken bones were found when the vet did X-rays, the young bird had a spinal injury that left her legs paralyzed and also was causing pain. After a week in which treatment was having no effect and her condition was instead deteriorating, there was no choice but to euthanize her.

Adding to the misfortune, a few days later we learned that one of the young red-tails at the nest at Riverside and 116th St. has also died. The best guess is that this bird died of frounce, a diease caught from eating the wrong part of an infected pigeon. The hawk died at the nest; I don't know whether it the one who had not yet fledged when I last visited the site, or if it was a fledgling who had returned to the nest.

And for those who wondered why no reports about the Grant's Tomb hawk nest in so very long, it's because the one hawk nestling at that location apparently died during the last week of April, aged somewhere between two and three weeks. No one knows what happened there, just that the baby was visible in the nest the weekend of April 23 and then by late the following week could not be seen.

So it's been a bad-luck season for the three red-tailed hawk nests in Morningside Heights. We hope that the three baby hawks who were last known healthy are remaining so, and will report on them when we next get some pictures.

June 6, 2016

6/6, Fledge at West 116th St

116th St. Nestling - 9926

Checking on the Riverside Park hawk nest at 116th St. to see if there had finally been a fledge, I found only one young hawk in the nest at the start of the evening.

It was obviously paying attention to something over toward Riverside Drive, and other watchers in the area pointed out that an adult was perched across the street.

But perhaps there was something else that way?

116th St. Fledgling - 9937

Indeed. Perched almost directly above the head of the hawkwatchers, about 50 feet up and some 30-40 yards from the nest was the other baby hawk.

116th St. Fledgling - 9939

Whether the young bird had managed to fly over there, no witnesses were around to say. And maybe it had done some crazy amount of branching in order to work its way to a tree above the park's upper walkway. But even if the latter, it's far enough away from the nest that such effort should count as having fledged.

116th St. Fledgling - 9952

So congratulations, little one.

116th St. Fledgling - 9954

And meanwhile, mama was perched atop the Paterno apartment building.

116th St. Hawk - 9956

But then took off on her rounds.

The fledgling rotated around so that its back was to the sun. It settled in for some preening, and ogling of the passers-by below.

116th St. Fledgling - 9991

Then mama returned, perching atop 448 Riverside.

116th St. Hawk - 0047

Besides keeping an eye on the kids, mama also had other concerns. The next door neighbors, relatively speaking, are not friendly. One of the Riverside Church peregrine falcons was also on patrol.

Riverside Church & Falcon - 0020

Mama took off again, but a bit later there was a noisy confrontation overhead when she and the falcon met up. Some screeching and then everyone returned to their corners. Okay for now, but this could get ugly in the coming weeks as the baby falcons also fledge.

One last look at the fledgling in sunset light.

116th St. Fledgling - 0106

June 5, 2016

6/5, Riverside and West 116th St.

Stay At Home Kids - 9875

Just before Sunday's dinner-time rainstorm, I visited the red-tailed hawk nest area at Riverside Park near 116th St. It's been more than 50 days since first hatch was detected there, but except for some aggressive branching first seen on Friday, the baby red-tailed hawks there have yet to fledge.

Sunday eve first found one baby hawk just visible napping in the nest, but as the wind picked up a bit, it got up and started flapping like crazy. But where was its sib? In the nest, too. It got a minute or two later and the flapping party went into overdrive as rain started to sprinkle.

Flap Flap Flap - 9888

One of the duo branched up to a very small limb about five feet above the nest and for a time looked like it was going to fledge whether it wanted to or not as the wind gusted. But it managed to hop back down into the nest as the deluge began and observers cleared out.

6/5, J. Hood Wright Park

Home Alone - 9770

Sunday afternoon in between rainstorms I checked on the hawk nest overlooking J. Hood Wright Park in Washington Heights, where earlier in the week we learned that there were a very out-of-the-ordinary four baby hawks. A couple reports late in the week indicated that one or two had fledged and at least one had wandered as far afield as the rooftops overlooking Broadway. Instead it look like three have fledged, as I found just a single nestling still at home, alone.

Home Alone - 9771

Despite searching the area for some time, I couldn't find the three fledglings. Presumably they were on apartment rooftops, difficult or impossible to see from the street unless they happen to perch on an antenna.

One parent was in the area, first perched at the corner of Broadway and West 175th St., trying to dry off from what looks to have been a drenching.

Drying Off- 9757
Drying Off- 9766

Fifteen minutes later the parent had crossed to the other side of the new 175th St. pedestrian plaza, perching along Wadsworth Ave. From there it headed east to the Church of the Incarnation.

Incarnating - 9789

And then out of sight.

A bonus hawk sighting came later farther north at the corner of Ft. Wsshington Ave. and West 190th St. Presumably this was a parent from the nest across the valley at Fairview Ave. near 190th St. That nest is now empty and the one or more — we never got a final count — nestlings presumably fledged.

190th St  Hawk - 9812

6/3, St. John the Divine

Friday evening, the two remaining hawk fledglings at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine were both on the north side of the crossing roof. One was at the top of the arch.

Cathedral Hawk Fledgling - 9704

While the other was pecking at a meal, or the remains thereof, about 30 feet away on the side of the dome.

Cathedral Hawk Fledgling - 9714

Meanwhile, mama Madeleine seemed to be searching the grounds on the south side of the cathedral, perching atop the cathedral.

Madeleine Searches - 9687

And atop the Avalon condo.

Madeleine Searches - 9692

Observers then and also on Saturday got the impression that she was trying to find the missing (and injured) fledgling.

June 2, 2016

6/2, St. John the Divine

Exploring the Arch - 9513

The red-tailed hawk news from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine was bad and good today.

The bad news came in first, with a morning e-mail from the WINORR wildlife rehabbers that they had received a fledgling hawk picked up by NYPD around the corner of Manhattan Ave. and 109th St. (about 3-4 blocks from the nest site) sometime late yesterday. The hawkling could not stand, possibly paralyzed below the hips. They were waiting for the results of X-rays to find out how bad the injury is and whether there is any hope of trying to nurse the young hawk back to health.

The good news was that the third and last baby hawk from the cathedral nest has fledged. Another hawkwatcher reported seeing it in the nest in mid-afternoon, so fledging happened sometime between 3:00 and 7:00 today.

The first hawk sighting early Thursday evening was of a fledgling perched on the side of the crossing arch on the south side of the cathedral. It was hop-flapping its way up the blocks of the arch.

Exploring the Arch - 9527

And in not very long made its way all the way to the top.

Top o' the Arch - 9537

It didn't stay to admire the view, but soon turned around and started heading back the other way.

It's Boring Up Here - 9541

I headed around to the other side of the cathedral to check on the nest. It looked empty, but after 15 minutes I found another fledgling perched quietly on the roof of St. Luke's Hospital.

Hospital Hawk - 9561

Looking uninclined to do much.

Hospital Hawk - 9596

But with that time gap, maybe the first fledgling had flown across the street while I was looking around? No, back at the cathedral the first fledgling had made its way up to the crest of the copper roof above the chancel.

Top of the Cathedral - 9606

And shortly thereafter, mama arrived.

Hawk & Gabriel - 9636

The fledge on the cathedral roof started working its way out toward mama.

Hawk & Gabriel & Fledgling - 9640

Mostly walking but sometimes hop-flapping.

Hawk & Gabriel & Fledgling - 9643

So close, but then mama flew away.