June 27, 2017

6/26, St. John the Divine

Enjoying the Evening Light - 5875

A beautiful Monday evening found the entire hawk family in view at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Madeleine and Norman were up-top the cathedral, perched on the Archangel Gabriel and enjoying the very fine weather.

Hangin' with Gabriel - 5887

The three kids were, of course, all in the nest. Their feathers are growing in, but some fluffiness around the eyes shows that they are still some days away from flying.

Cathedral Nestlings - 5908

Although that last pic only shows two nestlings, all three were seen, with some vigorous flapping from one. Unfortunately, the nest location makes decent photos difficult due to backlighting.

June 24, 2017

6/23, Grant's Tomb


During Friday evening's rain showers, one of the Grant's Tomb hawk fledglings was perched in plain view, while its two sibs were nowhere to be found. The visible fledge was in a tree halfway along the walkway from the monument to Claremont Playground.


Its crop seemed to be bulging a bit, so it looked like it had eaten not too long ago.


The rain wasn't coming down hard, so the fledgling looked more curious than miserable.


Mama paid a very quick visit, then flew over to perch above Riverside Drive.


I had to wonder how many of the drivers passing below her had noticed she was watching them.


With an adult in the area, the one fledgling did a little bit of begging. Presumably on general principle rather than actual desire for food.

Begging - 5831

Mama switched lamp posts but let the beggar be.


June 22, 2017

6/21, Grant's Tomb


Other hawkwatchers have reported that the Grant's Tomb hawk fledglings have been exploring more over the past week. On Wednesday evening, though, the first hawk to be spotted came courtesy a pedestrian using his phone to take pictures of a low-perched hawk. It turned it was one of the adults, the General himself.


He was lurking in the heart of blue jay territory west of Claremont Playground. He seemed to be watching the slope below, but what had his attention wasn't obvious.


There were also some begging noises coming from the area. One of the fledglings was perched in a tree overhanging the playground area.


Yep, this was the bird doing all the crying.


With no success.


Still at it ten minutes later.


There were enough begging cries that I thought another fledgling might be perched in the trees 25 yards south, but if so, he was tucked away out of sight.

The one fledgling stayed where it was until the light started to turn.


And then disappeared as I again looked around to the south.

6/21, St. John the Divine


The baby hawks at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine are growing in their dark feathers but still have a ways to go. One nestling who was active early Wednesday evening still has a mostly fuzzy white head. He demonstrated some wing flapping and some staring back at hawkwatchers.


June 14, 2017

6/14, Grant's Tomb

GT Hawk Fledgling - 5555

The fledgling hawks at Grant's Tomb seem to be the hawk version of slackers, as one or two of them can often be found hanging about the nest site rather than out exploring. And if not there, they might be on the ledge around the edge of the lower roof of the monument, only 40-50 feet away from the nest. It's not clear if they're staying so close to home because one or both of the parents regularly delivers meals there, or if the meals are being delivered there because that's where the kids are at.

GT Hawk Fledglings - 5557

Nevertheless, they do venture away from the nest from time to time. Other hawk watchers have reported meeting them on the plaza around the back of the tomb. On Wednesday I encountered one on the park path between the tomb and Claremont Playground, perched on a bench just like any other neighborhood resident enjoying the evening weather.

GT Hawk Fledgling - 5493

Like other red-tails born in the city, he seems enured to the presence of humans, as he was exchanging stares with a girl and her father who were sitting two benches away.

GT Hawk Fledgling - 5501

It was a nice evening to chill on a bench.

GT Hawk Fledgling - 5504

Aside from having from passers-by stop to take pictures of you.

GT Hawk Fledgling - 5507

"I think my right profile is my best side. What do you think?"

GT Hawk Fledgling - 5510


GT Hawk Fledgling - 5514

Less than 10 minutes later, the fledgling got up, turned around, and flew to a tree over by the street. I lost track of him, but within another 15 minutes, he was up on the nest platform, as all three of the Grant's Tomb kids were up there together.

Meanwhile, one of the adults had been lurking at the north end of the north annex of the International House. At one point it plummeted down, apparently trying to catch something along the road. It apparently failed, as it next appeared on a street light with no catch.

Grant's Tomb Hawk - 5517

Although part of a leaf could be seen stuck to its left talons.

Grant's Tomb Hawk - 5522

June 13, 2017

6/12, St. John the Divine


Even as baby red-tailed hawks have been fledging the nest around Manhattan, the schedule is running a month behind at the nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. There with the late hatch, the question has been: how many nestlings are there?

Reports from hawk watchers last week only reported seeing one baby hawk, and certainly we only saw one on Friday.

Checking the cathedral nest late on a very warm Monday afternoon initially showed only mama Madeleine, perched on the side of the nest and mostly watching what was happening elsewhere, especially to the southeast. Possibly something interesting was going on at the south end of Morningside Park


Heading up Morningside Drive to a flatter vantage point, I turned around and shot some pictures from a long distance. Zoomed in on the camera's LCD screen to see what it revealed, and found... oh, my... uno, dos, tres.

Three Kids - 5342

Three baby hawks were standing up behind mama and looking around.

Briefly some better views were available closer to the nest.

Nestling and Mother - 5369

After which the kids started settling back down.

June 8, 2017

6/7, Grant's Tomb


It's not 100% certain, but reports from other hawkwatchers early Wednesday suggest that all the baby hawks at the Grant's Tomb nest have fledged. They reported that the nest was empty in mid-morning and early afternoon, but none was actually able to find all three of the young birds. It's possible that the third fledgling merely made a short trip from the nest to a nearby treetop and then returned later.

Why "returned later"? Come early evening, two of the young hawks were on the nest platform. One plainly had a full crop, so it seems that they were there because that's where dinner was delivered.


Efforts to find the third young bird seemed to be in vain.

One of the pair in the nest was looking into nearby trees, but I didn't think to check if it was because the third was somewhere in that direction.


Finally some blue jays started aggressively calling out near the northwest corner of the tomb retaining wall, and sure enough, there was the third young hawk.


Its scrambling behavior in changing from branch to branch was much like that of fledge 2 in the trees by the playground on Tuesday. That it was the same bird seemed confirmed by the tuft of white fuzz still attached just above the top of its beak.


It tried another tree about 30 feet away.


But found the blue jays would follow. Also, that branch is at a sharp diagonal.


It tried changing position, slipped, fell, and started flying. Moments later it was 80 feet away in a tree near the lawn between the tomb and the playground.


Adult supervision was present pretty much the entire time.


June 7, 2017

6/6, Grant's Tomb

GT Fledgling & Mama - 4984

E-mail from a neighborhood hawkwatcher Tuesday afternoon reported that two of the Grant's Tomb red-tailed hawk babies were out of the nest, with one about 25 yards away high up a tree and the other 150 (!) yards away in a low tree near Claremont Playground.

Heading up that way, I initially had no luck spotting the roaming kids, but one adult was perched atop the International House keeping an eye on things. But a bit later, I discovered one of the fledglings was up there with mama, exploring the rooftop. The fledge soon decided to join mama on her perch atop a vent cover.

GT Fledgling & Mama - 4989

But the fledging's balance wasn't great, and after it flailed a bit and almost whacked mama in the head, Mrs. Grant decided that there's close and there's too close. She took off for the other end of the building.

GT Fledgling & Mama - 4994

The fledge made a move to follow, but only flew about 50 feet, landing on the metal walkway around the uppermost part of the International House, where it mostly disappeared from view

GT Fledgling in Flight - 5003

But what of the second fledgling? The report had been that it glided down to the lawn, then ran, skipped, and hop-flapped north to the chess tables, and finally made a short flight to the top of a scrubby tree by the playground. Initially he couldn't be found, but after a single blue jay made some noise, I circled around the tree and found the hawk fledging right where he was said to be.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 4962

Looking a bit nervous, both because of the blue jay but also because its perch wasn't the strongest.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 4968

Nevertheless, comfortable enough to do some preening.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 4959

And look around.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 4974

After twenty minutes it (he?) began to show some interest in relocating. Perhaps because there were now two blue jays mildly harassing him. But where to go?

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 5023

Oh, no, you don't want to go west. That will make the blue jays angrier.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 5036

But west the fledgling went, making a very short flight to a tree across the path, where the blue jays were indeed angrier.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 5043

It moved about the branches, hop-flapping, branch-walking and climbing. Then decided, okay, maybe a different tree, but only one 15-20 feet away.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 5059

A nice solid branch to perch on, but the blue jays weren't going to let him stay.

GT Red-Tail Fledgling - 5060

So from there to another tree 15 feet away where the branches were closer together. Would they offer protection from the jays? No, not really.

Unfortunately, at that point, I had to go. Papa Grant made a quick flight through the area as I was leaving, so the red-tail parents were aware of where fledge two was at and were keeping an eye out.

As I made my exit, I found Mrs. Grant and fledge one perched alongside each other on the I House walkway railing.

GT Fledgling & Mama - 5066
GT Fledgling & Mama - 5072