June 10, 2018

6/10, Grant's Tomb Hawk First Fledges


Two of the young red-tailed hawks at Grant's Tomb fledged Sunday evening, which on the face of it sounds like good news. But other news there is not so good, and more bad news could follow.

On Saturday came word that one of the parents had been struck by a car mid afternoon. Follow-up information indicated that the mother was suffering from second-hand rodenticide poisoning, which likely caused her to be ill and/or disoriented, and thus flying too low. Although the injury from the car was relatively minor, she was last reported in not good shape due to blood loss, as rodenticides in common use these days are anti-coagulants.

But area birdwatchers have also been concerned because the father hawk has not been confirmed seen the past couple days. He was possibly spotted up Riverside Drive late Saturday and on Sunday afternoon, but that bird may have been the yearling "brown tail" who has continued to hang about the area.

In any event, all three GT kids were at the nest site at 6:00 Sunday evening, one on the railing above, one in the nest, and one moving about between the nest platform and a beam sticking out from the platform.


The two birds not in the nest were doing a fair amount of crying, and watchers wondered if they had spotted a hawk to the north in the Manhattanville area. The one in the nest seemed like it might be pecking on leftovers.


The nestling on the projecting beam gave some semi-flaps as it stretched or changed position. It did not seem like anything serious, as if it might be on the verge of fledging.


Oh, wait.

At 6:23, that young hawk started flapping, and flying, heading north. It was flying strongly enough that it gained some altitude, but not quite enough to reach the roof of the International House about two short blocks away. Instead it ended up in the top of a tall tree at the northwest corner entrance to Sakura Park, some 40-50 feet short of the I House. It was deep enough into the foliage that getting any decent photos was out of the question.

Back at the nest, the nestling on the railing peered with interest towards its departed sibling. The other looked bored, with nothing particular on its mind.

Hawkwatchers wandered back north to check on the new fledgling. Then back to check on the nest. Wait, what, there's only one bird up there.

Only One Nestling? 0916

Indeed, the bored looking nestling had sneakily left the nest about 6:45. Robin noise (really, a mass robin freak-out) alerted us that the second fledgling was somewhere along West 122nd St., and it was spotted on the lowest eave on the north side of Riverside Church.

GT Hawk Fledgling 2 - 0921
GT Hawk Fledgling 2 - 0937

I had to depart the area, but came back a half hour later. Still the one nestling, not only crying for food but also loneliness.

Final GT Hawk Nestling - 0971

The second fledgling still perched on the eave, a good spot where it was probably safe from hostile falcon activity.

GT Hawk Fledgling 2 - 0996

The first fledgling was not in view and seemed might have departed its treetop. Another birdwatcher later reported that about sunset that it had been spotted across Riverside Drive in the trees near Claremont Playground and may have subsequently gone to roost back south close to Grant's Tomb.

The question on Monday will be if the Grant's Tomb father hawk is still around. But even if he is healthy and delivering food to the kids, there's a good chance that one or more could end up having to be rescued. You may recall that some years ago when one of the St. John's cathedral parent hawks died about fledging time that one fledgling from that nest was not getting enough food and was eventually rescued and taking to rehabbers.

1 comment:

  1. This is so heartbreaking, especially as this nest seemed to be doing so well. I hope things work out for the fledglings.