Monday, March 30, 2015

Birds in the 'hood

While watching the hawk nest on Avenue A, I've seen several other wild creatures sharing the sky.

Late one recent afternoon, this Peregrine Falcon zoomed up the avenue to 5th Street, where Christo was perched on one of the Village View buildings, and started chasing him around.

Falcon over Avenue A

They circled each other several times - so fast I couldn't photograph them together - then the falcon headed NW, up First Avenue.

A couple of days later, I spotted two Turkey Vultures gliding straight up Avenue A, right over the nest at 3rd Street. 

Turkey vultures over Avenue A

About an hour later, two vultures glided in the opposite direction, south on A.  Were they the same or a different pair?  I'm not sure, but four vultures were spotted over Washington Square Park on this same day.

Yesterday, I was totally surprised to see this Merlin casually perched on a rooftop shower head on 6th Street & Avenue B.  I've never seen one in this area, so this was pretty exciting for me.


After a few minutes, it took off towards Tompkins Square Park.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Some happy news - official word has come in from the Ageloff Towers that, as of March 26, hawks Christo and Dora have an egg!

You can see a rat snack to the left of the egg and it looks like the bottom of the nest is lined with paper.

It's not clear when Dora laid the egg, although I suspect it was March 23 as that was the first day she spent sitting in the nest. It's possible she could still lay more.

So, if we look at the stats from last year, the hawks are about a week earlier laying the first egg, and we can estimate it will take around 36-40 days to hatch.  That means we can probably plan a 'Welcome to the World, Baby Hawk' party around May 1.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Did she or didn't she?

The question of the day:  Did Dora lay an egg?


I can't be certain because I can't see down into the nest, but her behavior today sure indicated she had an egg.

Thanks to the webcam, I was able to keep an eye on her most of the day. She stayed in the nest pretty much all day, taking just a few short breaks.  Christo visited periodically, and eventually brought her a rat snack late in the afternoon.


It was the way she moved that makes me believe she has an egg.  Dora would get up from her sitting position every once in a while, bend over, and make movements that looked like she could be rolling an egg.  When she settled back down, she moved her shoulders back and forth like she was nestling something under her.  I could be wrong, but I don't think she would sit up there all day like that if the nest was empty.

Anyway, this is how I left her this evening around 7pm, the crescent moon rising behind her...

Dora and the crescent moon

See more photos on my Flickr page.

Also check out Two NYC Hawks, a tumblr page of nest updates from across the street.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Christo and Dora streaming live

Some exciting hawk news: a live web cam has been set up on the Ageloff hawk nest.  You can see it here.

The last few days have been very busy for Christo and Dora, who continue to work on their nest.  Today, I noticed a new addition...a coffee cup!

Dora inspects a coffee cup
Dora and her morning joe.

I didn't see who brought the cup up to the nest, but this looks to me like Christo's shenanigans.

At 7pm tonight, I saw Dora (via the web cam) pick up the cup with her beak and move it to the back of the nest.  She then had her back to the camera, so I couldn't see what she did with it.  I kept watching until it got dark, around 8pm, and she continued to stay and work on the nest. I'm wondering if she's sleeping up there and, if so, if we can expect an egg very soon.

In addition to coffee cups, napkins and plastic bags, Christo has been busy collecting organic nesting material as well, like bark.

Christo with bark

He has a few favorite branches in Tompkins Square that he's stripped bare.

Christo peels bark from a tree

Christo with a piece of bark

On Wednesday, after an afternoon spent working hard on the nest, I found the pair resting atop the east side of the Most Holy Redeemer church on 3rd Street.

Christo and Dora atop the Most Holy Redeemer church

On Saturday, I caught them mating up on their favorite Village View perch on First Avenue and 3rd Street.

Christo and Dora mating atop village View

Afterwards, they watched the planes fly by as the sun went down...

Christo and Dora watching the planes fly by

See more photos on my Flickr page.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Free hawk talk this coming Wednesday

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation's blog Off the Grid has an interesting post this week on the Christodora House and Ageloff Towers, the two buildings, hawks Christo and Dora have chosen as nesting sites.

The society is also hosting an event this coming week that features our East and West Village hawks.

From the GVSHP website:
The Red-Tail Hawks of Greenwich Village and the East Village
A lecture and slideshow with Gabriel Willow
Wednesday, March 25
6:30 – 8:00 P.M.
Free; reservations required
Washington Square Institute, 51 East 11th Street,
between Broadway and University Place
[Please note this venue is not wheelchair accessible.]

If you have ever seen the group of people in Washington Square Park with their binoculars, cameras and zoom lenses focused on the top floor of NYU’s Bobst Library, then you’re probably aware of the pair of red-tail hawks that built a nest on a window ledge, and have made Washington Square their home and hunting grounds. Similarly, a pair of red-tails has built a nest on the Christodora House adjacent to Tompkins Square Park. Both pairs have successfully raised offspring for the past several years.

Gabriel Willow is a naturalist, guide, and educator with New York City Audubon, who will describe the nesting, mating, and hunting habits of these predators, and explain why we should welcome them to our neighborhoods. To register, please call (212) 475-9585 ext. 35 or email.
 Christo calls to his mate Dora to come get dinner
Christo calls Dora to dinner from atop the Sidewalk Cafe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ageloff hawk nest update

It appears the Frigidaire has won the battle of the air-conditioners to see which one hawks Christo and Dora would choose for their nest.

Christo on the nest

Both hawks have been hard at work building up the sides and securing the sticks.

Christo takes a stick to the nest
Christo approaches with what appears to be a folded napkin.

Christo takes a napkin to the nest

It's a little more clear here.

Christo carries a napkin to his nest

Christo cruising past the nest...

Christo sails past his nest

While Christo flew back and forth between the nest and Tompkins Square Park with talon-loads of nesting material, Dora checked out luxury rental options on Houston.

Dora checks out the luxury rentals on Houston 

I noticed today there is a plastic bag clearly visible on the nest. I'm hoping the birds either remove it or squash it down deep under the sticks so it's not a danger to future hawklets.

See more of my hawk photos on my Flickr page.

A hawk neighbor has also started posting updates on the nest here.


A sign of Spring

It's that time of year when we start to see evidence of the beginning of the Spring bird migration.

Exhibit A: a Woodcock!


This beautiful bird was found this morning on the sidewalk on Mercer Street, between 3rd and Bleecker.  I presume it hit a window.


A good Samaritan scooped it up and took it to Washington Square Park to recover.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More of the Cooper's hawk in the Marble Cemetery

Late Friday afternoon, I passed by the Marble Cemetery on 2nd Street and, like clockwork, found what I believe is the same Cooper's hawk I've been seeing there the last few weeks.

Cooper's hawk in the Marble Cemetery

Cooper's hawk in the Marble Cemetery

Despite having a full crop, the hawk chased after a squirrel that was nearly the same size as the bird.

Cooper's hawk chases a squirrel in the Marble Cemetery

The hawk had no chance with this squirrel, but that didn't stop it from engaging it in a staring contest.

Cooper's hawk and squirrel in the Marble Cemetery

Cooper's hawk and squirrel in the Marble Cemetery 

Eventually, the squirrel backed down and left the hawk to roost in peace.

See more Cooper's hawk photos on my Flickr page.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Christo, Dora and a hawk surprise

Unlike this time last year, when hawks Christo and Dora spent most of their time in Tompkins Square Park, I've been frequently seeing them perched on the chimneys of the Village View high-rises along First Avenue. 

Here they are Thursday morning at 4th Street.  Christo is on the left, Dora is on the right.

Christo and Dora atop Village View

That evening, Christo spent the last couple of hours before sunset patrolling that whole stretch of First Avenue.  Here he is at 2nd Street.

Christo looking over First Avenue

Notice his feathers are in pretty good shape.


By comparison, this shot of Dora from Sunday shows her wing tips and tail feathers starting to get a little ratty.

Dora with sticks

Here she is inspecting a trapped mylar balloon atop Village View at 6th Street.

Dora with a balloon atop Village View

I was so spoiled last year being able to watch these two go about their business (hunting, mating, stick-gathering, preening, meditating, etc) all within the confines of the park.  I could stand in one spot and let the action swirl around me.  This time around, it looks like I'm going to have to work!

Tonight I chased both birds around the entire neighborhood until sunset. I've not caught them hunting in the last several days, but I'm hoping they continue to use the park as their pantry.

So, after losing track of both red-tails tonight, I stopped over at the Marble Cemetery on 2nd Street to see if I could catch a glimpse of the semi-resident Cooper's hawk.


Cooper's hawk in the Marble Cemetery 

As I watched, the Cooper's stood up and went on alert.  I heard a squeaky chirping sound, so looked up and was excited to see a second Cooper's hawk higher in the tree.

Two Cooper's hawks in the Marble Cemetery 

The intruder (friend or foe?) hopped down from branch to branch until it got about six feet from the perched hawk.  Then it lunged, and the other hawk took off out of the cemetery and flew east on 2nd Street.  

See more photos on my Flickr page.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Plan B

Thanks to commenter 3rdSt who alerted us to hawk nest-building activity on the Ageloff Towers on Avenue A and 3rd Street last Friday.

On Saturday, I went to check it out for myself and, sure enough, hawks Christo and Dora were busy taking sticks up to two air-conditioners on the top floor.

Here is Christo on the left flying off a Friedrich unit, while Dora arranges sticks on the right, atop a Frigidaire.

Christo on the left, Dora on the right

They appeared to spend equal time working on each air-conditioner.  If/when the time comes, they will make a choice as to which one they prefer.




Dora with a stick

Dora on the left, Christo on the right.

Dora and Christo


Christo with a stick

Christo takes what looks like a Key Food bag up to the Friedrich on Saturday.  A neighbor told me he was also spotted today flying around the area with a plastic bag.

Christo with a plastic bag

Here he is with a sycamore branch.

Christo with a sycamore branch

The pair take a break on a neighboring a/c unit.  Christo is on the left, Dora is on the right.

Christo and Dora

It looked like the hawks were doing most of their stick-gathering in Tompkins Square Park, but I also spotted Dora cutting sticks from the trees at Village View on 4th Street. Christo brought some from a strip of trees on 2nd Street.

It also looked like they were using the dome of the Most Holy Redeemer church as a rest stop on these stick-gathering trips.  They'd fly in from the north, perch on the edge of the dome, then catch the wind and dive straight for the Ageloff.

Here, Dora flies past the church with a stick.

Dora carries sticks past the Most Holy Redeemer church

And this is Christo, back in Tompkins Square, gathering sticks with is former nesting spot, the Christodora, in the background.

Christo gathers sticks in Tompkins Square 

So, the burning question is, which is best - Friedrich or Frigidaire?

See more photos on my Flickr page.

Previous hawk posts.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Riding out the storm

While slogging home from work during the snowstorm today, I spotted one of our hawks atop Village View on First Avenue at 3rd Street.

Hawk atop Village View during a snowstorm

I can't tell which one it is, but it sat up there quite a while, gazing west.  I wanted to see if it would fly off and show me where it could be building a nest, but it looked to be firmly perched for the duration of the storm.

A short while later, I came upon the other one on a fire escape on Avenue A at 6th Street.

Hawk in the snow

I'm not certain, but it looks like Christo.  It would make sense that it's him as he likes to hang out on the fire escapes in this area, but both he and Dora have been spotted here several times recently.  I didn't see any evidence of nest material and think he was just here riding out the storm.

See more photos on my Flickr page.