Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sad update on Tompkins Square red-tail chick

I'm sorry to report the Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawk chick passed away tonight.

The chick was in the care of WINORR, who tried their best to save it, but its illness/injuries were just too advanced. The remains will be sent to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for testing to determine the cause of illness and death.

This is a devastating loss for Christo and Amelia, who also lost one of their offspring last year. It will be helpful to know what happened to this year's chicks and we will post an update if/when we are notified.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Update on the Tompkins Square hawk chick

Following Thursday's post where we expressed concern for the surviving Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk chick, we have some updated information.

Tompkins red-tail nestling 

This morning, between 6-6:30am, the chick fell out of the nest. Ranger Rob from the NYC Urban Park Rangers was able to retrieve it and take it to Animal Medical Center for treatment. It spent the day on an IV drip. The hawk will be transported to Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR) tonight.

It's still not known what exactly is wrong with the hawk, but it is extremely weak and in bad shape. Tests are being done and we will update if/when we know something conclusive. In the meantime, the hawk is getting the best care possible.

THANK YOU to the resident who saw the hawk fall - without that witness, the hawk would not have survived the day.

And big thanks to Ranger Rob, the staff at AMC, and Bobby and Cathy Horvath at WINORR who are doing their best to save our little guy.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Concern for the remaining Tompkins Square red-tail nestling

It's been a week since one of the Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestlings passed away and I am concerned about the surviving sibling. Although it looked okay at the time of the last post, it seems to now be suffering from some kind of illness.

We still don't know what killed the other nestling and the body has not been recovered. I'm not sure if the parents removed it from the tree, or if it's still up there somewhere. Unfortunately, without the remains, it won't be possible to do any testing and get definite answers about the fate of the hawk.

Drying out

On the morning of May 31, after the first chick (I think it was the younger of the two) passed away, the surviving sibling stood on the edge of the nest and tried to dry its wet feathers.

Drying out

There had been a thunderstorm the night before - one of many in recent weeks - and the chick was totally soaked. You can see water droplets on the leaves in front of the hawk in the photo below. I don't know if the continuous wet weather conditions have had anything to do with the health of the birds.

Drying out

This morning (June 6), I found the nestling perched in the same place, but it kept one or both eyes closed, which is not normal.

Not looking well

At this age, the hawk should be jumping, flapping, and exploring the tree. Instead, it has spent most of the week sitting still or lying down. It does seem to have an appetite, so I hope food is giving it strength.

Tompkins red-tail nestling

Not looking well

Below, you can actually see three flies on the chick's wing.

Tompkins red-tail nestling with flies

At this point, there is nothing anyone can do to help. The nest is inaccessible and it is not known what is wrong. It's possible the nestling can pull through what ever is ailing it, and maybe food and rest are what it needs.  I had originally predicted this hawk would fledge the first week of June, but it's apparent that is not going to happen.

Best case scenario is the hawk recovers, takes its time, and fledges later. The three hawklets over at Washington Square Park are a few days younger that the Tompkins chick, and they are doing very well despite losing their dad. You can follow the activities of that family over at Roger Paw's blog.

Earlier in the week, Urban Hawks paid a visit to Tompkins Square and took some video of the nestling. Note the windy conditions blowing the leaves around and obscuring the nest, which has been one of the factors making this nest so difficult to observe.

Fingers crossed there will be a happy outcome here. I will update as I know more.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Sad hawk news from Tompkins Square

I'm sorry to report it appears one of the Tompkins Square hawk chicks has passed away. The cause is unknown, but it happened some time last night between 7pm and 6am.

This nest has been difficult to observe as it is very high and obscured by leaves. This photo was taken on May 27 (Memorial Day) when I was able to catch a brief glimpse of Amelia and the chick.

Amelia and her chick

Based on feather development, I am guessing this was the younger of the two nestlings, although they were hard to tell apart early on, as shown in this photo taken May 10.


We lost a fledgling last year to a combination of rodenticide and West Nile virus. The year before that, another fledgling died and tested positive for West Nile. It's not possible at this time to say what killed this chick, but the same dangers still exist in our environment. The Parks Department does not use rodenticide in Tompkins Square, but it is used all over the neighborhood on private property and in some community gardens. West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes, so any standing water is a breeding ground for them.

I will post any updates if/when I know anything.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Chick pics

The red-tailed hawk nest in Tompkins Square Park has been extremely difficult to see this year due to the foliage and windy weather that blows the branches around. The chicks have mostly been keeping low in the nest.

Tompkins Square red-tail nestling

Over the last few days, I've managed to catch a few glimpses of the nestlings who still have downy white heads, but are growing dark brown wings and tails.

Tompkins red-tail nestlings

Tompkins red-tail nestlings

They are also developing some color on their chests.

Tompkins red-tail nestling

Below, mom Amelia enters from stage-left and you can get a sense of the size of the chick, who is nearly as tall as mom.

Amelia and chick

Amelia and chick

There's a big world beyond the nest waiting to be discovered...

Tompkins red-tail nestling

Tompkins Squaer red-tail nestling

Tompkins Squaer red-tail nestling 

Assuming the babies hatched on/around April 20, we can expect fledge time to be in the next couple of weeks. However, there is no rush and the kids are free to take their time.

If you want to see young red-tails practicing their pre-fledge moves, be sure to check out the live NYU Hawk Cam over at Washington Square Park. Better yet, take a walk over there to see them in person!