May 26, 2021

5/26, St. John the Divine

Since the female red-tailed hawk at St. John the Divine apparently started brooding about April 23, it seemed hatch date would come this week. But three checks on the nest Monday and Wednesday revealed it to be empty. The only hawk sighted was a smallish-sized bird perched on Gabriel's horn Monday evening, presumably the male of the pair.

Subsequently we heard that another hawkwatcher or two had not seen the female at the nest for possibly a couple weeks. The male has been seen around, and apparently also a year-old red-tail, possibly the same one that we observed in mid April.

There's been some debate about the recent female hawk history at St. John's, and not whether but how many have disappeared or died. Some photos last year suggested the female then was not Madeleine of 2015-2019, and one hawkwatcher theorized that brooding started late this year because the 2021 female was not the 2020 bird.

In any event, it looks like the St. John's nest has continued its relatively dismal history since the adult female (Isolde?) died of frounce in 2014 and since the nest site relocated to a roomier but weather-exposed spot in 2015.

April 30, 2021

4/30, St. John the Divine

Still Brooding - 6844

Brooding continues at the red-tailed hawk nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Due to the late start, we're probably looking at another three and a half weeks before hatch.

4/30, Montefiore Square

Lilly in Her Nest - 6720

The red-tailed hawks that nested on a fire escape at Amsterdam and West 135th St. last year apparently moved west this season, nesting at Broadway and West 136th St., across from Montefiore Square.

Reports are that the first hatch there occurred on Thursday, April 22, and a second the following day. However, the second hatchling was reported dead on Tuesday, April 27.

Lilly in Her Nest - 6737

The mother hawk, named Lilly by the neighbors, was perched on the edge of the nest late Friday afternoon, preening and looking around.

The white fuzzy stuff visible on one side of the nest was apparently a pigeon carcass, or part of one. The surviving nestling was not visible while I was watching.

Lilly in Her Nest - 6759

Lilly took off for about 15 minutes, but returned and not long after started feeding the nestling.

The nest site is potentially dangerous when it comes time for the baby hawk to fledge. The only greenery nearby are some trees in the Broadway median and across the street in the parklet. The latter is fenced off and undergoing reconstruction. But this is a busy intersection and presumably neighborhood folk are well aware of the nest. So if (a/the) fledgling lands awry, someone will be out there to block traffic.

Photographs of the nest, the adult hawks, and the two hatchlings and taken from adjoining apartment can be viewed on the website of photographer Michael Palma Mir.

April 24, 2021

4/23, St. John the Divine

Brooding? Finally? 6638

Despite reports from Wednesday of the yearling red-tail visiting and lurking near the St. John's red-tailed hawk nest, on Friday it seems that the resident adult hawks are active and at long last have started brooding.

Checking in on the nest on Friday about 6:00 p.m., there was finally the sighting of a hawk's head just sticking up above the nest, low enough to suggest the bird was brooding.

Although it seems bizarre that the hawks at St. John's have only started brooding egg(s) the same week as reports came in of other Manhattan nest having hatches, please recall that the the SJ nest has experienced multiple problems since it re-located to its current, exposed location six years ago. Any news of brooding (and also hatching and fledgling) is good.

April 20, 2021

4/19, St. John the Divine

The nesting situation for the red-tailed hawks at St. John the Divine gets ever more confusing.

Hawk Beside Nest - 6579

Approaching the nest late Monday afternoon, I could see a hawk perched just outside the nest. Getting close, it looked like the bird was comfortable being there.

Hawk Beside Nest - 6588

Looking around casually.

Hawk Beside Nest - 6603

But wait. What color is that bird's tail?

Take-Off - 6607

The hawk took off, circled around over Morningside Park twice and returned to the nest.

Landing - 6608

Yes, that is definitely a brown, striped tail. This is a year-old bird and not one of the cathedral adults.

Just Visiting - 6610

After another minute or so of looking around, the young hawk was back in the air and flying off toward central Harlem.

So where were the cathedral adult red-tails?

April 9, 2021

4/9, St. John the Divine

Yes, despite encroachment on their territory by two other hawk pairs, it looks like hawks are nesting the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 2021. However, even as hatch watch has begun at other Manhattan nest sites, it looks like the cathedral pair may not yet even have eggs in their nest.

Hawks Mating - 6536

Friday evening at 6:35 just after I reached the corner of Morningside Park at Manhattan Ave. and 110th St., I saw a hawk fly back and forth in front of the cathedral, then briefly perch on the roof above the nest. Then it flew up to the archangel statue, where the other hawk was at, and... mating ensued.

Often after such sessions, the male often quickly departs, but this time he stuck around for a few minutes.

After the Event - 6543

Then he took off for a few minutes, but then he returned. Both hawks were still perched on the cathedral roof at 7:00.

Given the mating session and the extended absence from the nest, it seems the female is not yet brooding eggs. So if there is a hatch this year — and recall that the cathedral nest has failed more often than not the last few years — then it won't occur until at least mid-May, possibly a month after other Manhattan RT hawk hatches.