April 10, 2020

4/10, St. John the Divine

Hawk in Nest? — 4806

The red-tailed hawk nesting season in Manhattan is in full swing, and because of the mild winter, it's possible one or two nests have already had a hatch. The status of the nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is, however, not so clear.

Word reached us in mid-March that a sick or injured male adult red-tailed hawk had been rescued from Morningside Park by Parks Dept. rangers and that it died the next morning. Initially, this was presumed to be Wyatt, who had been the male hawk at St. John's for the past two years.

But we learned in the past at St. John's (i.e., 2008) and from more recent histories at other city nests that a replacement adult hawk can appear within a matter of days.

Because of several issues, I only made my first visit this season to West 113th St. on the afternoon of April 10. But once there the indications were that a hawk was brooding in the nest. From a good but distant viewing spot a couple blocks north, a hawk head could just be seen poking up, and it was not in the same place 30 minutes later. There were also a couple sprigs of fresh greenery that had been added to the edge of the nest within just the past few days.

Due to lack of observations of the adult hawks' behavior, it's up in the air as to when a hatch might occur. Assuming there is a new male hawk, then a hatch before April 20 seems highly unlikely, and it could be well into May. A hatch before then would indicate that Wyatt is okay and that the deceased hawk was an unfortunate intruder.

ETA: An adult hawk with Wyatt's throat coloring was photographed hunting on the north side of the Frederick Douglass Houses (West 104th St.) by a neighborhood hawk watcher on April 8. As it flew off to the north, it is assumed to not be one of the West 95th St. hawks.