5/30, Second Fledge at St. John the Divine

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Monday afternoon I headed over to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to check on Friday's hawk fledgling, and perhaps see if one of its siblings had also made its first flight. I found a fledgling red-tail almost immediately, perched on the roof of the Cathedral School, on the back side of the building overlooking Morningside Drive. Although a couple robins were acting sentry, there was little noise.

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The fledgling was relatively content to stay where it was. Although it several times tried to walk up the 45-degree pitch of the stone eave of the roof, it never made it more than half way up, sliding and fluttering back down to the gutter. Nor did the fledgling try to navigate around the edge of the school roof to another position.

So except for some preening, things weren't too exciting.

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But was that Friday's fledgling, or a second one. Something about the bird suggested to me that it was a second one, but where was the first?

Checking about the area I got a couple glimpses of a hawk's head in the nest, so there would seem to be one baby hawk still in the nest. The only thing weird about that was that mama Madeline flew into the nest a couple times, and even had part of a meal there once, but the nestling did not get up.

Eventually I realized that there was a pretty sizable bird perched on the north side of the cathedral's roof, way up atop on the brick structure above the Baptistry and St. Ansgar Chapel.

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That was almost certainly fledgling #1, who has now had three days to work on its flying. As events would show, it's developed some strength, but needs to work on steering.

The fledge had seen mama flying around and begged for some food and/or attention.

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Since mama had been hanging around down toward the nest, the fledgling moved that way, popping up on one of the turret gargoyles.

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Eventually Madeleine flew over to the gargoyle and gave the fledgling part of a pigeon, then turned around but stayed close.

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The fledge tried to start its meal, but was finding the perch precarious.

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And then suddenly the fledgling was in the air, carrying the pigeon parts. But where was it going? Initially it seemed like it might be headed over toward mama,but couldn't make the sharp right turn. Instead it was was angling left and flying across 113th St. The hospital roof would make a good spot for a baby hawk to have a meal, but no, it was too far to the east and was going to miss the hospital. And then it descended down towards Morningside Park, disappearing into the trees above the dog run.

Despite the assistance of various robins and sparrows, I didn't find the fledgling until it started thrashing around in the undergrowth, popped up into a small tree and looked around nervously. Then it was back down into the bushes and trying to walk uphill.

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Crossed the walkway and the steps.

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Perched alongside the steps for a few minutes.

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Darn those robins are awful distracting.

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And darn, the pigeon meal got dropped somewhere, too.

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Up into a small tree with a better view. Try to ignore the robins.

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Look around and get oriented. Ponder what to do.

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And then the fledgling took off sort of toward the cathedral. It went about 75 years and perched in a park tree across the street from the cathedral. The footing there being precarious, it soon opted to move a little deeper into the park where it perched on a good solid branch on a dead tree. The robins might still harass it there, but it least its new perch was good and steady.

And meanwhile the other fledgling was still on the corner of the school roof.

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Posted 5/30/2016 11:43:00 PM by Robert

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