Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tompkins Square fledglings go exploring

When I visited Tompkins Square on Sunday afternoon, both red-tail fledglings were hanging out in trees on the south side of the park.  After a while, Ten came to the ground to play in the grass.

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

She pounced on a few leaves before flying up to a tree overlooking the chess tables.  A short while later, some people let their unleashed dogs into the grassy area.  I keep saying it, but please keep dogs out of the fenced-in areas.  The fledglings are still learning to fly and are vulnerable when on the ground.

Perhaps seeking a new point of view, Ten flew to the rooftops along 7th Street.  This was the first time I've seen her leave the park. 

Tompkins fledgling #1 mobbed by blue jays

A pair of blue jays wasn't too happy to see the hawk getting adventurous.

Tompkins fledgling #1 mobbed by blue jays

While she was on the roof, Flatbush flew to the tree over the chess tables where Ten had previously been.  Flatbush could see her from his perch and he watched intently as the blue jays dive-bombed his step-sibling.

Tompkins fledgling #1

After being bullied for about half an hour, Ten took a snooze, dangling her wing over the ledge.

Tompkins fledgling #1 napping on a rooftop

When she was done with her nap, she joined Flatbush on a branch.  In the photos below, she is on the left and he is on the right.

Tompkins red-tail fledglings

Tompkins red-tail fledglings

Tompkins red-tail fledglings

Tompkins red-tail fledglings

Ten fell asleep for a while in a sunbeam.

Tompkins fledgling #1 take a nap

While she napped, Flatbush decided to check out the rooftop where Ten had been previously.  A blue jay immediately found him.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Prior to this, Flatbush had been in the same tree for about four days, so I was happy to see him actually flying.  Could he be copying what he saw Ten do?  I like to think he's learning from her.

Tompkins fledgling #2

He made several more flights between trees that afternoon, finally displaying some confidence.

After her rest, Ten awoke to soak up the last bit of sun.

Tompkins fledgling #1

She then crept up on Flatbush, who was perched in the same tree.  In the photo below, Flatbush is on the upper branch and Ten peers up at him from the shadows.

Tompkins fledglings #2 & #1

Over the last few days, the fledglings have been seen perching together.  When I left the park this evening, they were both up in the nest waiting for dinner to be delivered.  They seem to be getting along well.

More to come...





Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tompkins native fledgling steals the spotlight

Flatbush, the adopted hawk fledgling in Tompkins Square, has been receiving a lot of attention since his arrival on June 14.  For a few days after fledgling the nest, the native baby hawk, Ten, stayed high in the trees where she was difficult to see.  Over the weekend, however, she took center stage. 

Hello!

Tompkins fledgling #1

All the photos below are from June 24.

Tompkins fledgling #1

Ten not only drew the attention of people, but also the ire of a blue jay, who wasn't happy about her presence.  The jay mobbed her relentlessly until she left the tree.

Fledgling red-tail mobbed by blue jay

The fledgling came to the ground to play with a smelly dead squirrel.  She practiced pouncing on it and other toys in the grass. 

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

After playing in the grass for several minutes, Ten made an unexpected flight up to a fence along 7th Street.

Tompkins fledgling #1

She then flew to another fence near the park entrance and seemed totally oblivious to the person who was already standing there.  The fledglings haven't learned to fear people yet, and it always makes me nervous seeing them get so close to people, but this person didn't move a muscle and just let the hawk do her thing.

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

As it was dinner time, Christo brought Ten her evening meal.  However, rather than delivering a dead or partial rodent/pigeon, Christo brought her a whole live rat.  He didn't stick around to 'prepare' it for her, so she was on her own to figure out what to do with it.

Baby's first live prey

As far as I know, this was the first live meal for the fledgling and she didn't hesitate to prepare it herself. Not only was this a milestone for her, it also showed how Christo knows when the fledglings are ready to manage their food.  Earlier on this same day, Christo fed Flatbush by mouth, so he knows how to care for each kid and what developmental stage they're at.

Around 9pm, well after sunset, Ten flew off to roost and Christo and Dora took over the dinner table.  Christo brought in a partial pigeon that the fledglings had dropped on the ground earlier in the day, and Dora finished off the rest of Ten's rat.  They enjoyed their left-overs side by side.

Christo & Dora have dinner together
Christo on the left, Dora on the right.

This reminded me of the 2014 season when Christo would deliver food to the Christodora nest throughout the day and Dora would dispose of the surplus by dropping the carcasses on the central lawn.  At the end of each day, they'd both go and scavenge the leftovers out of the grass.  They're a very organized and efficient pair.

More to come...




Monday, June 26, 2017

Sibling rivalry

The Tompkins Square hawk fledglings were very active this weekend and demonstrated some new skills. Flatbush seemed to find his wings on Sunday and made several short flights around the south side of the park, flying more that day than any other so far.  Both fledglings are still being fed by Christo, but Ten is quickly learning to be proactive about obtaining food.

This is Flatbush (note the leg band).  He still has a lot of white feathers around his eyes.

Tompkins fledgling #2

This is Ten.  Her face and head have become more brown. 

Tompkins fledgling #1

Late Saturday afternoon, Christo dropped some food off to Flatbush, who was perched in the tree over the bandshell area.  Ten decided she wouldn't wait for delivery and swooped in on Flatbush.  In the photo below, Flatbush mantles his food to defend against the interloper. 

Tompkins Square fledglings

You can also see a slight difference in the color of their tails.  Ten's is a lighter brown.

Tompkins Square fledglings

Flatbush successfully defended his dinner. 

Tompkins Square fledglings

We saw this behavior a year ago, when one fledgling from the 2016 nest tried to steal a mouse from its sibling.

Tompkins Square fledglings

Hawks are opportunistic, and will snatch a meal from someone else if the occasion presents itself.  Ten demonstrated the boldness she will need to successfully attain food, and Flatbush exhibited the defensive skills he will need to thwart thieves.

Tompkins Square fledglings

Here is some video of the aftermath as Ten whines to be fed and Flatbush eats his meal while mantling.




More to come...




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Christo & Dora's biological child is growing up fast

With all the attention Flatbush, the adopted Tompkins Square hawk fledgling has been getting, the hawklet who was born in the park deserves some love.  The last time I had a good look at the young hawk - I'm calling it Ten - it seemed a bit shy.

But take a look at Ten now!

Tompkins fledgling #1

The hawk is suddenly big, comparable to mom, Dora.  In fact, I mistook the fledgling for Dora when I saw it perched in a tree over the weekend.  Due to the large size, many are speculating the hawk is female.

Tompkins fledgling #1

On Sunday, after several days spent high in the trees, Ten came to the ground to play.

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

Tompkins fledgling #1

She seems to have a lot of white feathers, while Flatbush has a thick brown belly band.  Their appearance could change in the next few weeks, but one way to tell them apart is by the metal leg band on Flatbush's left leg.  None of the other hawks are banded.

Late in the afternoon, Christo brought a rat to a dinner table branch and Ten wasted no time pouncing on it.

Christo passes a rat off to Fledgling #1

Below, the fledgling mantles the food as Christo side-steps off to the right. 

Christo moves aside as Fledgling #1 mantles rat

A closer look.

Tompkins fledgling #1

Nom nom nom!

Tompkins fledgling #1

Note her wide yellowish chest.  Both fledglings have this color and it will turn to white by the end of summer.

Tompkins fledgling #1

A short while later, Christo reappeared, but without food this time.  The arrival of dad and the possibility of another meal caught the fledgling's attention.

Christo & Fledgling #1

She quickly made a move on him, but he got out of the way.

Christo & Fledgling #1

Christo & Fledgling #1

She has been doing very well chasing after Christo, or going to him when he rings the dinner bell.  Her flying skills are looking great and I saw her zip around the park this evening.  I think she takes after Dora and will some day be a formidable bird.

Tompkins fledgling #1


You can see more recent hawk photos on my Flickr page.