Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Christo and Dora have at least one tiny mouth to feed

Over the last few days, I've seen Christo and Dora feeding someone up in their nest in Tompkins Square, but it's still too soon to know how many kids they have up there.

Below, Christo and Dora sit together in the nest on Sunday afternoon. They both spent several minutes fussing over the hatchling(s).

Christo and Dora on the nest

Dora spent 15-20 minutes feeding while Christo perched close by, keeping watch.  You can barely see him behind the branches to the right of the nest.

Dora on the nest, Christo hidden on right

Urban Hawks took some really nice video of the feeding taking place.

When Christo is not delivering food, he gathers greenery.  Below, he takes a sprig of locust pods to the nest.

Christo brings locust pods to the nest

Dora took a break from nest duties, only to be mobbed by a blue jay on Avenue A. 

Dora mobbed by a blue jay

It pained me to see the blue jay continually bash into the back of her head, but Dora's level of tolerance is pretty high. 

Dora mobbed by a blue jay

People have asked me why the hawks don't just kill and eat the pesky jays, but the hawks have almost no maneuverability from this perched position.  The jays (and other smaller birds) have the advantage of being faster and more agile.  However, that's not to say the hawks aren't fully capable of surprise attacks.

Dora mobbed by a blue jay

Later in the day, Christo posed in front of some spring foliage...

Christo with spring foliage

...and gave me the hawkeye stare.


. . . .

 In related hawk news, I was really sad to hear the younger hatchling at Washington Square Park passed away yesterday.  The older chick, however, is looking good and lively.  I took the screenshot below from the live NYU Hawk cam earlier today.  Follow Roger Paw's blog for regular updates.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hatch time at Tompkins Square?

Tuesday evening, Christo and Dora were acting suspiciously like they could have a hatchling up in their nest in Tompkins Square.  Hatching is due any time, so if it hasn't already happened, it surely will by the end of the week.

Since we can't see into the nest to see what is happening, we must pay attention to the behavior of the adults.  Christo and Dora's usual schedule is for Christo to bring food to a nearby tree, then swap places in the nest with Dora while she eats.  At 7pm last night, Christo showed up as usual with a dinner rat.  Rather than leaving it on a branch for Dora to retrieve, he hung on to it and waited on a branch a few feet from the nest.

Christo with a rat

After a few minutes, Christo flew the rat to the nest.  I waited for Dora to get up and take the rat, but she never did.  It's impossible to see her in the photo below, but she is in the nest on the right.  As more leaves bloom in the tree, it will be more difficult to see the nest.

Christo takes a rat to the 

After about ten minutes of both adults rustling around in the nest, Christo took the rat and flew out, leaving Dora behind.

Christo removes a rat from the nest

Christo removes a rat from the nest

Christo took the rat to a nearby tree and ate part of it before flying to another part of the park.  During this time, Dora moved around a lot, but all I could see was her back end sticking out (below). 

She spent 15-20 minutes moving around with her tail in the air, so I wondered if she could be feeding a chick.  Dora finally settled down in the nest at 7:30pm when the sun went down.

In past years, it's taken 35-40 days for eggs to hatch and Tuesday (April 18) would have been 35 days (assuming the first egg was laid March 14), so they are on schedule.

Meanwhile, the Washington Square hawks welcomed their second hatchling this morning. The screenshot below shows the two chicks and parents (and a rat lunch) this afternoon.

For those keeping score, Urban Hawks has a spreadsheet of all the known Manhattan hawk nests this year.  There are eight, down from twelve in 2016.

Monday, April 17, 2017

We're on hatch watch

The Washington Square hawks had their first hatch this last Sunday (April 16), so we are on hatch watch for Tompkins Square.

Below is a screenshot of the Washington Square nest from this morning that shows the first little bobblehead and the parents.

Tune in to the live NYU hawk cam for ongoing activity.

In past years, the Tompkins Square hawks have hatched a couple of days after Washington Square, so Christo and Dora could welcome their first hatchling any day now.  From the ground, it's impossible to see the eggs, but it should be apparent that something has happened when both parents are in the nest and/or Christo starts taking food up there.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Feeding Dora

Dora is spending the majority of her time and energy sitting on eggs in her nest in Tompkins Square.  Her brood patch is clearly visible on her chest.



As Dora is tied up with nest duty, Christo is responsible for feeding the both of them.  On Monday, he caught a lunchtime rat next to the men's restroom.

Christo with a rat

Michael Jackson's Billie Jean was blaring from a boombox just a few feet away, but that didn't seem to affect the hunt. 

Christo with a rat

Christo flew the rat up to the nest where he passed it off to Dora. 

Dora takes a rat from Christo

The hawks don't eat in the nest (one way to keep it clean), so Dora took her meal to a nearby tree.

Dora takes a rat away to eat

Dora with a rat

Christo usually eats the head, but for some reason, he left this one for Dora.  She ravenously consumed it in one gulp.

Dora eats a rat head

After Christo's shift at the nest was over, he flew behind the park offices to relax in the bird bath.

Christo takes a bath

There are two bird baths, but one has been knocked over (vandalism?), so all the birds have to share just one.  While Christo took a 20-minute bath, all the other birds had to wait their turn.

Clean and refreshed, Christo struck a regal pose.  He's king of the park.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Christo's taste for tree bark

Last week, I posted a couple of photos of Christo peeling bark off a tree in Tompkins Square. 

Christo strips bark off a tree

Since then, he's taken more bark from the same Scholar tree and has been taking the pieces up to the nest.  The below photos are from this last Saturday.

Christo breaks bark off a branch

Christo breaks bark off a branch

Christo breaks bark off a branch

Christo breaks bark off a branch

Christo with bark

While Christo and Dora were constructing their nest, Christo favored branches from the Redwood tree next to the men's restroom (he also used branches from that tree for the 2016 nest).  Since egg brooding began, he's been taking bark from the same branch of the Scholar tree regularly.

When he's not busy with light construction projects, Christo provides food for Dora.  Below, Christo dives for prey.

Christo dives for prey

He makes a successful rat-grab.

Christo catches a rat

Before delivering Dora's meal, Christo takes the head for himself.  Yum!

Christo eats a rat head

Chores done for the day, Christo basks in the late afternoon sun.



More to come...