May 23, 2020

5/23, St. John the Divine

Morningside Hawk - 6056

A day after I commented that it seemed that the red-tailed hawks at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine had not figured out yet that their eggs were not going to hatch, it seemed that they did figure it out.

Three checks on the nest between 6:35 and 7:15 p.m. showed that it was empty. But a hawk was briefly seen flying over Morningside Park at 6:40, and then at 7:00 both of the hawks were circling over Morningside Drive, south of the cathedral.

One hawk, looking well fed, then flew off south toward the Douglass Houses. The other may have gone to perch in the close on the south side of the cathedral.

5/22, St. John the Divine

Angel and Hawk - 5944

Friday marked 42 days since I first observed a red-tailed hawk brooding in the nest at St. John the Divine. Since then, brooding is almost all I have seen. Even a week ago when the temperature was in 80s and there'd be no need to hunker down in the nest to keep a baby hawk warm, the adult hawk in the nest was hunkered down. As incubation time for red-tails is roughly 31 days, it seems highly likely that the nest has failed. The hawks just haven't figured it out yet.

Despite the lack of posts to this blog, I have visited Morningside Drive two or three times a week since April 10. Almost every time, the head of a hawk has been visible poking up from the nest. Only a few times have I seen more than that, such as Friday, when the hawk resident in the nest stood up, looked around, and then settled back in the nest. On one other occasion a few weeks ago I also noted a hawk standing up and engaged in what looked like a brief period of egg rolling.

The hawk photo above was taken Wednesday evening, one of the two occasions in the past six weeks that I have observed two hawks in the nest area. The hawk in the photo appears to be the male, as its throat is white and last year's male (Wyatt) had white throat feathers. Also, the hawk did not appear to have a brood patch as a female would have after tending eggs for a month.

However, the hawk that stood up in the nest Friday evening had white throat feathers. So either I had spotted the male doing nest duty, or else the female is not last year's female (Madeleine), who had brown throat feathers. Only some more observations will tell, but the hawks this year have not cooperated with the timing of my visits.

Well, if the hawks won't cooperate, there is other neighborhood wildlife who will.

Morningside Raccoons - 5928