June 28, 2019

6/28, St. John the Divine


Early Friday evening found red-tail fledgling One at St. John's perched quietly on one of the spires of St. James chapel, overlooking the biblical garden.

Hawkwatcher Melody was already watching and reported that he'd been perched atop the Cathedral School but had given up the spot after being harassed by robins. He returned there after I departed when both parents arrived and dinner was delivered.

Aside from a couple possible "squeeps" when I watched him on Thursday, it was noted that he's been a very quiet child.


6/27, St. John the Divine


Early Thursday evening, I was barely on cathedral grounds for a minute before spotting the red-tail fledgling One. He was atop a chimney of the Cathedral House, noshing on pigeon. And a good thing, too, because shortly later he took and alit in a spot where over the many years I have perhaps just once found a fledgling to be lurking.

The pigeon must have been in two parts, as the fledgling finished with whatever was on the right side of the chimney top, then picked up another that was toward the left.


Perhaps he was moving off in order to get out of the hot sun, or perhaps small birds were harassing him. In any event, he flew over the roof of the old orphanage building. I found him perched on the cathedral wall behind the orphanage and overlooking the side door of the cathedral.


He finished off what remained of the pigeon.


Made a few cries. Possibly a parent was in sight, or maybe if was because there was definitely some harassment over here from sparrows and a grackle.


Then sidled along the ledge that was a bit more protected, both from other birds and from the sun.


Yes, that pigeon feather remained stuck to his beak for the rest of the time I was there.


And after another 15 minutes or so, I headed out to get my own dinner.

The hawkwatching grapevine has reported that fledgling Two is doing well at rehab and could be ready for release "soon".

June 25, 2019

6/24, St. John the Divine


Monday evening at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine found the un-injured red-tailed hawk fledgling exploring and practicing its moves. The finding, though, took a little while as it was mostly not visible from alongside Morningside Drive, and only spotting a departing adult provided a clue where it was at. It was lurking about the south side of the cathedral, perched on the buttress between the crossing and choir.

Within a minute it was in the air.


And alighting on a finial at the east end of St. James chapel. Stuck the landing very nicely.


It stayed there for a while, alternately watching activity on the ground and trying to maintain its balance on the pointed perch.


Then it decided to spend a little more time practicing its landings, flying back and forth between that finial and one nearby.


After which it dropped down to the roof of St. James chapel and was out of sight for about 10 minutes before re-appearing.


And from there it flew over to the roof of Cathedral House in the center of the close.


June 22, 2019

6/21, St. John the Divine

A quick check at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine late Friday afternoon again found hawk fledgling one lurking about the turret about the statue of St. James the Great. But it seemed very interested in something close by, and eventually I said "D'oh!", because mama was perched on a nearby ledge. Very nearby.


To be honest, I've never spotted one of the cathedral hawks on that ledge in years of watching. But then, I had no particular reason to look there. One wonders what I may have missed.


Although the fledgling edged over toward mama a couple times, he didn't try to join her.


No food on offer over there. Mama is just having a good, long preen. A couple new tail feathers were just visible as she undergoes her summer molt, so maybe she's feeling extra itchy.


When I left, the fledgling had settled down toward the middle of the turret and was having his own preen.

No word on the status of fledgling two. Will update when I receive any info.

June 21, 2019

6/20, St. John the Divine


There was some hawk drama at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Thursday afternoon, which I missed because I didn't check personal e-mail for a couple hours. The second fledgling had been found grounded in the service area alongside St. Ansgar chapel, roughly 30 yards directly north of the nest site, and apparently injured. NYC Parks's Rangers Rob and Grant retrieved him about 4:15, and Urban Hawks has photos.

At last word the bird was at WINORR for treatment and rehab. It is reported to have some head trauma and a vision problem, although whether the vision problem is due to the injury wasn't clear to me.

As for the first fledgling, just recognizable due to a bit of fluff just above its beak, he was reported to be perched in the turret above St. Andrew (the old nest site) at 10:00 this morning, and then in the turret above St. James the Great while his sib was being rescued. I found him there at 5:00.


But about 5:30 he became active.


Moved about the turret for 10 minutes.


Then popped up to the roof edge at the base of the big cross. Hung out there for a few minutes, then over to perch on a small gargoyle about 10-15 feet about the nest. Looked about for a minute or two, then dropped into the nest. There he began to nosh on something, and was still at it when I exited due to incoming bad weather.

June 20, 2019

6/19, First (and Second?) Fledge at St. John's

The first 2019 baby red-tailed hawk to fly from the nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine did so on Wednesday afternoon at about 4:30, apparently in the middle of a feeding. The Urban Hawks blog got video (see at about 6:10 minutes in).

The new fledge only went about 30 feet, but maintained altitude, landing in the turret above the statue of St. James the Great.


It was still there an hour later, and in fact remained put until about 6:40. Both it and its sibling had full crops, and when I first arrived were mostly preening after the late afternoon rain. Adult supervision was provided by mama perched on the rooftop statue of the archangel Gabriel.


Staying put and thinking about that first flight.


A bit after 6:30 the new fledgling perked up and started moving about.


And then started wing-flaring and hop-flapping and otherwise getting excited.


Possibly it had observed its sibling pecking at leftovers and so was thinking about returning to the nest.


Which it did about 6:40.


But it didn't settle down once returned, and its sibling also got a bit excited.


And then about 6:55 the fledgling flew back to the turret above St. James. At this point it seemed as if a light bulb had gone off above its head. This flying thing, it's not bad!

The fledgling's second visit to St. James lasted a few minutes, and then it was back to the nest. And moments later, back to St. James. And then, flying up to the edge of roof, close to the base of the big cross.


The fledgling explored around the cross over the next 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, both parents arrived on the scene, the father landing on the finial above St. James the Great and then the mother in the turret above St. Thomas, another 30 feet clockwise.

And then things got confusing...

The father made a nest visit, apparently delivering food, and then departed. Moments later the fledgling jumped from the roof down toward the nest.

I moved to a spot with a better angle on the nest and could see (apparently) the fledgling perched on the edge, and another hawk behind. But the other hawk was mama, who had flown to the nest without my noticing. (Darn foliage!)


And then the mother flew off.

But where was the second baby hawk?

Try as I might over the next 45 minutes, I could only verify that there was a single young hawk in the nest.

The last sighting of the second (un-fledged) baby hawk in the nest was about 7:05, and I could only wonder if it had fledged un-seen during the next 5-10 minutes. If so, it seemed as if it most likely had done a quick descent to the rooftops of the chapels below.

June 19, 2019

6/18, St. John the Divine

Unfortunately, several days in a row of rainy weather just when the SJD red-tailed hawk nestlings are old enough to make first flight.

Not Gonna Fly 'til the Rain Quits - 3341

Tuesday evening they were both still in the nest, suffering the drizzle.

Any day now.