May 31, 2018

5/30, St. John the Divine


The red-tailed hawk nesting season at the Cathedral St. John the Divine appears to have been a wash-out in 2018. Although I have usually seen one or both adult hawks in the area during the past month, spotting one in the nest has been less frequent. And when it does happen, it appears that the hawk was just making a quick visit. There's been no evidence of brooding since signs in mid-April that the (first) clutch of eggs had failed.

Wednesday I found both hawks in the area. The new male was perched on the rooftop statue of the archangel Gabriel, but a moment later the female soared overhead and circled several times above the corner of 113th St. and Morningside Drive.


Tail and wing feathers are starting to look a little ragged. She may be beginning her summer molt.


After a couple minutes, she alit on the statue of Gabriel, which the male had vacated whilst I watched her.


But moments after I spotted the male further up Morningside, diving down into the park, she too disappeared, and all was quiet.

5/24, Grant's Tomb


Although neighborhood birdwatchers reported as early as May 4 that they thought they could see a third red-tail nestling in the hawk nest at Grant's Tomb (and I saw hints of that being so), it wasn't until around May 20 that the reports of a third baby hawk became frequent and definite. I finally got a clear sighting of all three on Thursday, May 24, during the early evening feeding.


Mama took care to make sure that all three got fed, then after 10-12 minutes she took off. The kids stayed up for a while, with one engaging in some vigorous wing-flapping. Then it was time to settle down and digest the meal.

May 3, 2018

5/2, Grant's Tomb Babies

Neighborhood birdwatchers Jeff and Lynn reported Wednesday two weeks ago that there might have been a hatch at the Grant's Tomb red-tail hawk nest. "Mrs. Grant" seemed to be either feeding or preening a new hatchling. A few days later, birdwatcher Melody commented that the mother appeared to be feeding in two directions. Wednesday evening I confirmed that there were at least two nestling at the GT nest, and they are big enough to watch the hawkwatchers.

Just before 7:00 p.m., a feeding was in its end moves. Although not apparent at the time, a close look at photos did reveal one or two fuzzy white blobs through the nest sticks.


In just a minute or two, though, the feeding was over and it was time to take out the trash.


Quickly enough mama was back in the area, first stopping at the International House.


Where she could be scanning the area, and sometimes looking high up. Hmmm, was one of the neighbor falcons on the prowl?


And then Mrs. Grant shifted over to the top of the tomb.


Again some high-up looks.

Mrs. Grant shifted to a lower point on the tomb dome. Then about 15 minutes after leaving the nest, she returned to perch on the light tower railing.


Some more skyward looks. Then back into the nest, where she started fussing about.

Walking across the street to another vantage point, I looked back and found someone white and fuzzy was looking back.


And quite evidently it had at least one sibling for company.


Things seem to be going well at the Grant's Tomb hawk nest so far, although birdwatcher Jeff has resorted witnessing a couple of screaming matches with talon-flashing between hawks and falcons.

By the way, if first hatch did occur on April 18th as suggested, them it's likely that the Grant's Tomb was the first Manhattan red-tail nest to have a hatch this season.

5/2, St. John the Divine

The hawk nesting situation at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine remains a bit confusing, but by all appearances, the first clutch of eggs has failed and there's a possibility that the hawks aren't bothering with a second try.

In several visits to the area in the past two weeks, I have usually found one or both of the hawks perching in the area. But on only one visit did I see either visit the nest, and that was the male for just a moment. Nevertheless, one of the local dogwalkers informs me that one of the duo was busy in the nest on Tuesday morning.

Early Wednesday evening, I found both in the area. The new male was on the scaffolding at the east end of St. Luke's Hospital.


Where he stayed for the 30 minutes or so that I was in the area.


The female was in the cathedral turret to the eft of the nest turret. She might have flown in while I was watching the male, as I thought I had checked that spot earlier.


But aside from changing her perch in the turret once, she also seemed inclined to stay put, watching the vicinity and preening.