4/22, Uptown Hawk Nests

Saturday afternoon I headed uptown to check on red-tailed hawk nests in the Washington Heights-Fort George Hill area. I hoped to find evidence of a hatch at one, and evidence of anything at two others. My luck was... mixed.

JHW Hawk Nest - 2433

At J. Hood Wright Park, close to the George Washington Bridge, the hawks know what they're doing. This is their sixth season at that location, and since the third they have been reliably one of the earlier sites in Manhattan to see a hatch. It's apparently such a good site that their average nestling count over the prior five seasons is, if I remember correctly, 3.0. Keep in mind that the first season, they only had two babies.

In any event, the JHW nest looked empty when I first arrived, although it was possible the female was nestled toward the back of the nest where she can be hard to spot. I wandered around the park to a spot that is distant but has a good angle and from there saw the female standing on the edge of the nest (photo above).

By the time I walked across the park, she was nestled in the nest, keeping eggs and/or baby hawks dry and warm.

JHW Hawk Nest - 2452

And there she stayed for the next half hour until I moved onward.

JHW Hawk Nest - 2437

Fifteen blocks north, the Fairview Ave./Gorman Park hawk nest is on the back of an apartment building overlooking the valley between Fort George Hill and Fort Tryon Park. It's a hard spot to get a good look at the nest. The best angle is from Overlook Terrace, but that's more than 300 yards away. But with a half decent telephoto lens, I could see someone was in the nest.

Fairview Ave Hawk Nest - 2484

Look closer. Mama is at home.

Fairview Ave Hawk Nest - 2492

The Fairview Ave. nest was empty when I checked the area back on March 18, so it's possible there has not been a hatch there yet. But it was an early nest two years ago (when it was higher up the fire escape), so who knows.

Anyway, there are some other spots much closer to the Fairview Ave. nest where you can watch for activity, although the angle isn't the best. Like farther up Fairview.

Fairview Ave Hawk Nest - 2515

But in a few weeks when there are baby hawks big enough to wander about the fire escape, it will be easier.

I finished the day on the other side of Fort George Hill, checking the area around the old Highbridge Park/Swindler Cove nest. It apparently went unused last year but I had found a possible alternative nest site in the area a few weeks ago. Also, I had seen a hawk in the area a couple times last month. Unfortunately, neither nest site was occupied on Saturday, nor were any hawks to be seen anywhere else nearby.

Posted 4/23/2017 12:25:00 AM by Robert

Edit Post