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.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tompkins foster hawk endures storms, meets the neighbors

It's been a week since fledgling hawk Flatbush was introduced to Tompkins Square, and he's doing very well.  He's had to adjust to a completely new environment, learn to navigate his way around trees, and is improving his flying skills.

After a hot and humid few days, the skies ripped open on Saturday and let out a drenching rain.  I went to the park to check on the young hawk and found him perched quietly in a tree, very alert and very wet.

Tompkins fledgling #2 in the rain

Here's some video. 



Just a few feet away, Christo was perched low in a tree looking worse for wear.  I think he was hunting, but I couldn't stick around in the pouring rain to find out.



The following day, Sunday, Christo was back to his usual glory.

Christo

I found Flatbush in the same tree where he rode out the storm.  He spent the afternoon practicing hop-flying from branch to branch.  His exercises were periodically interrupted by curious neighbors.

Tompkins fledgling #2 meets a squirrel

I saw at least three squirrels scamper right up to the hawk.  He's not a danger to them...yet!

Tompkins fledgling #2 meets a squirrel

Flatbush knows how to find the spotlight.

Tompkins fledgling #2

As the sun set, Christo visited the other fledgling (Ten) who was in a nearby tree, and dropped off dinner.  This got Flatbush excited and he kept making short flights from branch to branch.  At one point, he took off and left the tree.  But instead of going towards the other fledgling, as I thought he would, he flew in the opposite direction and landed in the ginkgo tree which housed last year's nest.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Tompkins fledgling #2 

This is where he spent the night.  The following day, Monday, there was another big rainstorm and Flatbush hunkered down in the tree.  I went out to see him (along with a few other dedicated hawk-watchers) to make sure he was ok.  He was fine, as was the other fledgling, who was perched high in a tree on the west side of the park.

The next post will feature the other fledgling, who has come a long way in the last week.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tompkins foster fledgling meets his fans

The previous post ended with Flatbush, the Tompkins Square foster hawk fledgling, making himself at home on the central lawn last Friday afternoon.  That is where we pick up here.

Late in the afternoon, the young hawk enjoyed exploring the landscaping.

Tompkins fledgling #2

And running around on the grass.

Tompkins fledgling #2 running around

There are currently signs posted around the central lawn that stay to keep off the grass because of seeding.  Another reason is that the hawk fledglings are at the age where they will run around on the ground and play with sticks and other objects.  They're like toddlers and it's perfectly normal.  Please take note and keep unleashed dogs out of the area.  On this day, a woman let out two terriers onto the central lawn and I nearly had a heart attack.  At the time, Flatbush was in the redwood tree, but if he'd come to the ground, he would not have had a chance against the dogs.

Tompkins fledgling #2 running around

After doing a few laps around the lawn, Flatbush made several attempts to get back up into the redwood tree, but couldn't quite make it.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Instead, he took a running leap off the sledding hill and catapulted himself up on to the fence near the dog run.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Ta-da!

Tompkins fledgling #2

Tompkins fledgling #2

He stayed on the fence for over an hour and attracted a crowd of admirers.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Tompkins fledgling #2

Here's some video:



Tompkins fledgling #2

It's tempting to get really close to the hawks when they perch so low, but please make sure to give them some space. 

Tompkins fkedgking #2

The fledglings still don't know how to fly that well and they need plenty of room to take off.  They are wild birds and are not tame.  They will not respond to calls or land on your arm (which would likely require an ER visit!).  Christo often perches on the fences, benches and birdbaths, but he is not being friendly.  He is being tolerant and trusting - tolerant of our presence and he trusts that we will not interfere with his hunting.  Dora is not so trusting, and she keeps her distance.

As it was nearly dark (around 9pm), and Flatbush was still stumbling around on the fences, Ranger Rob took him to a big tree on the east side of the park so he'd have a safe place to roost for the night. 

Tompkins fkedgking #2

This hawk is being looked after very well by caring people, and by Christo and Dora. As of this evening (June 20), he was well fed and perched high in a tall tree.

More to come...



Monday, June 19, 2017

Foster hawk fledgling makes himself at home in Tompkins Square

The severe weather today had me worried about the fledgling hawks in Tompkins Square Park, so I joined some fellow hawk-watchers this evening to check on the birds during the deluge.  They were each perched quietly in the trees and looked just fine.

Since my previous post, there's been quite a bit of hawk activity in the park.  I went a little crazy taking photos this weekend, so there will be several updates this week.

After the new fledgling (I will refer to him as Flatbush, since people were calling him that when he arrived), was introduced to the park last Wednesday, I returned on Thursday to see how things were going.  Flatbush was still in the redwood tree on the central lawn where Ranger Rob had placed him the day before.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Christo was busy flying around the park with food, calling to the young hawk.

Christo flies around with food

This was a very good sign as it meant Christo and Dora had accepted the youngster as their own and Christo was trying to lure it to a different spot so he could feed it.  As he flew around, I saw the first fledgling (I've been calling it Ten as it's Christo and Dora's tenth kid) was still up in the willow oak where it had landed the night before.

Tompkins fledgling #1

Neither fledgling was being very cooperative and remained perched in their respective spots.

I returned Friday morning to find Flatbush still in the redwood, but Ten had apparently flown to a different tree.  That fledgling stayed high in the trees all day where I couldn't see it, but that's where the birds are supposed to be, so I didn't worry about it.  I spent the next eleven hours fixated on Flatbush.

Around 10am, Christo, who had apparently given up on trying to entice Flatbush to move to a different tree, brought Flatbush a rat.

Christo looks on as his foster kid eats a rat
Flatbush is on the left mantling a rat while Christo supervises from the right.

As the fledgling originally came from a nest on a stadium light in an urban area, he had never been in a tree until he came to Tompkins Square.  It took him some time to learn to balance and hold onto food.

Tompkins fledgling #2

After a big brunch, Flatbush zonked out for a few hours.  At this point, I just wanted to see him fly out of the redwood as no one had seen him fly yet.  Around 2pm, he began exercising.

Tompkins Fledgling #2

Suddenly, he leapt out of the tree!

Flying!

Flying!

Flying!

He landed on a fence west of the Krishna Tree, immediately attracting an audience.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Tompkins fledgling #2

Tompkins fledgling #2

He clumsily attempted to run along the fence before deciding to jump down into the grass of the central lawn.

Tompkins fledgling #2

He did a little jogging...

Hawk on a mission

Sprinting...

Tompkins fledgling #2

Played hide-and-seek...

Tompkins fledgling #2 being silly

Tried to make friends...

First encounters of the squirrel kind

And then settled on the sledding hill to do some people-watching.

Tompkins fledgling #2

Tompkins fledgling #2


More Flatbush antics to come...