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.

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