The last couple years, Manhattan hawkwatchers have wondered about the apparent dearth of red-tailed hawk nests between St. John's cathedral and the GW Bridge. On Tuesday, I received a report from area birdwatchers Jeff and Lynn that there was a very active nest near CCNY, but several blocks south of the old nest on Shepard Hall.
Late Wednesday afternoon, I visited the site at Amsterdam and 135th St., across Amsterdam from the Annunciation Playground. The nest is located on the top landing of a fire escape of a six-floor apt. building. For a half hour or more, just one nestling was visible, despite the report that were two.
The nestling was relatively quiet. Some staring and preening and just a little wing flapping. It was a warm and very muggy day.
After I'd been watching the site for an hour, Mama swung by for three quick visits over the span of 10 or 12 minutes.
But except for preening for a couple minutes on her last check-in, mama was not going to stay around. At last sight, she was flying south and into the Manhattanville Houses, where one expects there might be good hunting.
Belatedly, I finally spotted the other nestling and apparently the older sibling of the nest. It had been lying down and sleeping on a window ledge, its wing and tail feathers just barely visible. But at last it got up and looked around.
And then it was time for me to start heading home lest I get accosted by the police for violating the curfew.
The two nestlings look about six weeks old, with the sleepy one apparently the oldest based on the feathers around its eyes. They could fledge any day, and one hopes and prays that they make it safely across Amsterdam Ave. into the trees around Annunciation Playground and PS 161.