March 27, 2019

3/27, St. John the Divine


Yes, there is a pair of red-tailed hawks nesting at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine this year. Likely they are last year's birds, but until better photos are obtained, we'll just have to assume so. But the duo seem to be operating on a later schedule than other city red-tails, as I saw no evidence of nor heard any report of possible egg brooding until today. Other nests around Manhattan showed sign of first egg almost two weeks ago.

In any event, the cathedral hawks were both perched on Gabriel's horn around 6:15 this evening.


That's the female at right and the male at left.

Almost immediately the female disappeared while I was checking a camera setting. The male took off moments later, heading for Manhattan Valley and possibly Central Park.


Heading up Morningside Drive to a tiny spot which currently has a distant but unobstructed sightline on the nest, I found that the female was in the nest and sitting rather low.


The female has been seen in or near the nest several times in the past week, often for extended periods. But the prior cases all reported her as either being perched and looking around, or else just fussing with sticks. This is the first she has been noted as being down in the nest, suggesting that she may have laid her first egg.

March 1, 2019

Grant's Tomb Hawk Nest History

And who are you? - 5797

(First posted 2019-03-01. Las updated 2019-03-11)

The table and notes below detail the nesting chronology for the red-tailed hawks at the General Grant National Memorial, aka, Grant's Tomb, from 2015 through 2018.

From 2015 through 2017, the nest was located atop a light stanchion just outside the northeast corner of the tomb plaza. In 2018, the hawks relocated to the top of the light stanchion at the southeast corner.

As of the end of the 2018 season, there had been 8 known hatches at the Grant's Tomb nest, and 7 young hawks had fledged (flown from) the nest. What happened to most of the young birds once they "left home" is unknown and cannot be known. We do know that four fledglings had to be rescued and taken to wildlife rehabilitation. These four all recovered and were eventually released.

Year Adults 1st Hatch Hatches Fledged Notes
2015 F1 & M1 May 25? 1 July 2 1
2016 F2 & M2 Apr. 8? 1 2, 3, 4
2017 Mrs. Grant & General Grant Apr. 19? 3 June 6
June 6
June 7
5, 6, 7
2018 Mrs. Grant & General Grant Apr. 19? 3 June 10
June 10
June 11
8, 9

The date given for first hatch is estimated, generally from the apparent age of the first observed young hawk but also based on possible observation of feeding behavior.


1 Although local birdwatchers may have been monitoring the Grant's Tomb nest, the first reliable information received by this blog of its presence was on July 2 when a hawk fledgling was reported grounded below the nest. It was captured, made its way to wildlife rehabbers, and was eventually released. Its feathers were not yet fully developed for flight, suggesting it had fallen from the nest. Rehabbers reported that it was very thin, possibly starving. It has been suggested that the neighboring Riverside Church peregrine falcons had driven its parents away.

2 It is not known whether either of the 2016 adult hawks was one of the 2015 hawks. The 2016 female was observed to have relatively light-colored eyes, suggesting she was young, possibly a first-season mother.

3 The single 2016 nestling was first observed on Apr. 15, and thought to be so large it must be at least a week old. The last observation of this nestling was reported on about Apr. 23. It apparently died at about three weeks old.

4 In addition to the next-door Riverside Church falcons, there was another red-tailed hawk nest relatively close to Grant's Tomb in 2016, located in Riverside Park just north of 116th St., roughly six blocks from the Grant's Tomb nest. That nest hatched two baby hawks about Apr. 14. Although both lived to fledge the nest about June 6 and 7, one died soon thereafter, presumably from frounce. It was reported that the father and possibly the other fledgling also died, again likely of frounce.

5 It is not known for sure whether either of the 2017 adult hawks was one of the 2016 hawks. However, it has been suggested that the male's coloring looked the same but the female's did not, and that the 2017 Grants's Tomb female was the mother from the 2016 nest near Riverside and 116th St.

6 Although feeding behavior was possibly observed Apr. 12, it was not positively reported that there was a baby hawk in the nest until Apr. 20.

7 Determination of fledge dates was uncertain as the young hawks were able to "branch" into nearby trees and also because they returned to the nest for feedings for at least a week after first flight. Two young birds were reported well away from the nest June 6, but the first fledge might have occurred the day before. The nest was reported empty early June 7, suggesting all three had made first flight.

8 The adult male hawk, aka General Grant, aka the General, seemed to disappear a few days before the first fledge occurred and was not reported seen for at least two-three weeks. This coincided with news that a hawk had shattered an apartment window a couple blocks north of the nest, then fled the scene. On June 9, the day before first fledge, the female hawk, aka Mrs. Grant, was found grounded in the street and rescued — rehabbers reported she was suffering from second-hand rodenticide poisoning. She quickly recovered and was released in front of Grant's Tomb on June 23. Although it was believed by many that the General had died due to injuries from the window incident, one hawkwatcher reported spotting him a month later and suggested that the window crasher was instead Mrs. Grant.

9 As it appeared both parents were not available to feed the young hawks, the first fledgling was caught and taken to rehabbers on June 11, and the second on June 12. The third fledgling was flushed from the nest during a rescue attempt on June 11, but returned and was not caught until it ventured north on June 16. The three youngsters were subsequently released in Flushing Meadows.