Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Christo the hunter

Just when I think Christo the Tompkins Square hawk is growing docile...

Christo

...and mellow...

Christo

...look out!

Christo

He reminds me that he's a top predator.

I arrived in the park late in the day, around 5pm.  In a span of less than 30 minutes, Christo caught two sparrows and three rats.  Not wasting any time, he took each catch straight back to the nest where Dora fed the kids.

Below, Christo leaps up to the fence with a sparrow he caught somewhere in the trees.

Christo catches a baby sparrow

Christo catches a baby sparrow

Christo catches a baby sparrow

I didn't even have time to chase after him.  As I was halfway to the nest, he came right back to the hunting grounds behind the park offices.

Christo

Here he is with a rat.

Christo with a rat

Pausing to rest for less than a minute, it was back to the nest.

Christo with a rat

Another rat.

Christo catches a rat

Away again!

Christo with a rat

You can just barely see a third rat on the branch in front of him.

Christo with a rat

Christo was actually still hunting when I left him, but it was getting late and I had to go. I've never seen him hunt in quick succession like that, and he was successful with every attempt.  He's really an amazing creature.

Christo

You might be wondering why there aren't any photos of Dora.  She is the master of hiding from my lens!  I do see her, but she just doesn't reveal herself as much as Christo.  She's definitely present, working hard to take care of their three hawklets.

See more photos of Christo hunting here.