Monday, May 30, 2016

Bathing beauty

In my last post, Christo the hawk cooled off by soaking in the birdbath in Tompkins Square.  The following day was especially hot and humid, and I lucked out when I caught Dora beating the heat by taking a dip in the gutter of St Brigid's Church.

Dora takes a bath in the gutter

If I hadn't seen her fly up there, I might not have known she was there.  She all but disappeared in the deep gutter and all that could be seen from the street was her head and little water droplets as she splashed around.

Dora takes a bath in the gutter

A quick shake to dry off...

Dora emerges from the bath

...and it was back to the nest to check on the kids.



A little later, Christo joined Dora atop the cross at St Brigid's and the pair took in the sunset.

Dora and Christo

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Suddenly summer

This week feels like someone flipped a switch and turned on summer.  I caught up with Christo late last evening when the air was quite sultry, and found him hanging out in the shade on the northern part of the park.

Christo, just hangin'

Not satisfied with swinging in the breeze, Christo opted to cool his talons in the birdbath behind the park offices.


Christo cools off in the birdbath

He wallowed in the pool for a good fifteen minutes.  I wished I could join him as my feet were hurting, but he seemed to really enjoy his solitude.

Christo cools off in the birdbath


Spa time over, it was back to work hunting for dinner.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Look Ma, wings!

The weather was tricky this last weekend, but I did manage to see the baby hawks in their nest in Tompkins Square when they stood up to flap their wings and show off for mom, Dora.

Flap flap flap

Flap flap flap

Flap flap flap

Flap flap flap

When the babies stand up on the edge of the nest, they appear as tall as the adults.  You can see their wings are looking darker as the flight feathers grow in.

Hanging out with mom

Dora and two of three babies

Dora and two of three babies

Dora and two of three babies

Dora and one of three babies

All of the above photos only show two babies at a time.  For a brief moment on Sunday, I was able to capture all three, although it was a dark afternoon, so I couldn't get a very good photo.

Three at once

Here is a short video of the kids with Dora:

And more Pollock-inspired hawklet art on the path below the nest...

Hawk art

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spring migration

It's spring migration time and there are a lot of interesting birds to be found in Tompkins Square Park.  Below are a few highlights.

This spectacular Scarlet Tanager:

Scarlet tanager

Scarlet tanager



Male Common Yellowthroat:

Common Yellowthroat

Female Common Yellowthroat:

Female common yellowthroat?

Female House Finch:

House Finch




Male American Redstart:


Male Magnolia Warbler:

Magnolia Warbler

Black-and-White Warbler:

Black and white warbler



Some of these birds, like the Tanager, have traveled all the way from South America. How wonderful they've decided to take a rest stop in our neighborhood.  Look closely at the leafy treetops or on the ground among the short bushes and you'll see these colorful visitors.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tompkins Square hawk nest update

It's been just over three weeks since the hawk eggs hatched in Tompkins Square, and now the babies are clearly visible when they peek over the edge of the nest.


Like father, like...

Dad Christo keeps watch while one of the youngsters flaps its wings.

Like father, like...

This last weekend, I was able to see two of the three nestlings.  The third is either still too short or too shy.

Two of three baby hawks

And we have pin feathers!

Show us your pin feathers!

Here is some video of two of the chicks bobbing around while Christo stands guard.

At one point, Dora posed next to her masterpiece (she built up the base of the nest all on her own).  You can really see how tall/deep the nest is.  I'm guessing they must have a basement rec room in there.

Dora and her masterpiece

Later, Dad and Mom took a break in the nearby honey locust.

Christo & Dora

After complaining in an earlier post that I don't often see much of Dora, I was happy to see her out and about on this afternoon.  She can really strike a pose.


And despite being behind a curtain of foliage, she can still watch me like

Dora coming through the jungle

Soaring past one of her favorite hangouts, St Brigid's church.


Note:  Now that the baby hawks are big enough to look over the edge of the nest, they're showering the pathway below with their excrement.  You may want to pack an umbrella when walking in this area.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dora gets mobbed

At sunset Thursday evening, I found Dora the hawk taking a break atop the cross at St Brigid's on Avenue B.  As soon as she landed, she was mobbed by an angry blue jay.

Dora gets mobbed by a blue jay

Dora gets mobbed by a blue jay

The jay dove at her about a hundred times, but Dora kept her cool.

Dora gets mobbed by a blue jay

Dora gets mobbed by a blue jay

After about 15 minutes, the jay calmed down and Dora was able to stretch.

Dora stretching

Then it was time for a flight around the park before returning to the nest for the night.

Dora at sunset

Dora at sunset