Thursday, July 19, 2018

Catching a glimpse the second Tompkins red-tail fledgling

The last few days have been a challenge trying to get a good look at the Tompkins Square hawk fledglings, but I had some luck late this afternoon.

The older sibling spent a lot of time hidden high in the trees on the east side of the park.

Tompkins fledgling A1

Eventually, it ventured across Avenue B to the Newsboys' Home where it was mobbed by my favorite tailless mockingbird.

Tompkins fledgling A1 and a tailless mockingbird

Tompkins fledgling A1 and a tailless mockingbird

The fledgling made a good flight back into the park.

Tompkins fledgling A1

Tompkins fledgling A1

The younger fledgling also made an appearance today, perching in an elm near the nest tree.

Tompkins fledgling A2

Tompkins fledgling A2

I'm really fascinated by the tailless mockingbird, who has harassed every member of the hawk family.  Below, it goes after mom Amelia atop the roof of St Brigid's church.

Tailless mockingbird mobs Amelia

This mockingbird is pretty gutsy!

Tailless mockingbird mobs Amelia

It bit Amelia's wingtips, but she completely ignored it.

Tailless mockingbird mobs Amelia

Meanwhile, dad Christo has been trying to lure the fledglings away from the nest with food.


Wednesday evening, he caught this mouse and called to his kids to come and get it, but no one answered him, so he ate it himself.

Christo with a mouse

Here he is preparing a pigeon for dinner delivery.

Christo kills a pigeon

Back at St Brigid's, Amelia glares at a pair of annoying jays. Blue jays, mockingbirds and robins have been mobbing the hawks pretty intensely this week.

Amelia with blue jays

For now, it looks like Christo and Amelia are dropping food off at the nest for the fledglings.  They're still being fed by their parents as they learn to fly and get to know the territory.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Second Tompkins hawk fledges

The older Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawk chick fledged the nest early in the morning on Tuesday, July 17.  It follows its younger sibling who fledged on Friday, July 13.

This time, however, there hasn't been much to see as the birds have mostly remained hidden high in the trees on the east side of the park. I caught glimpses of both fledglings today, but have yet to get a good, clear photo of either of them out and about in the park.

Parents, Christo and Amelia, have been keeping a close eye on the kids and have been fairly easy to spot.  I'm hoping to get some shots of the whole family in the upcoming days.

Christo & Amelia

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tompkins fledgling frolicks on a fire escape, then returns to nest tree

The younger of the two Tompkins Square Park hawklets fledged the nest at 2:02pm on Friday, July 13. It spent the night on a fire escape on E 8th Street and I returned to the site at 7:45am on Saturday, hoping to catch the parents making a breakfast delivery.

When I arrived, the fledgling was still on the platform of the fire escape, hopping back and forth over the opening for the ladder.

Tompkins fledgling A2 at sunrise

After an hour or so, the fledgling finally hopped up to the railing.

Tompkins fledgling A2 finally makes it up to railing

In this more prominent position, the local mockingbirds had an easier time mobbing it. 

Tompkins fledgling A2 is entertained by a mockingbird

As did this angry female kestrel.

Tompkins fledgling A2 gets mobbed by a kestrel

Blue jays, robins and even sparrows took their turns harassing the hawk.  When this happened, mom Amelia would perch on the nearby cross at St Brigid's church, drawing the mobbers' attention away from the fledgling.

As the morning wore on, the fledgling practiced jumping and running along the fire escape railing.

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

At 1:13pm, without having had any food deliveries from the parents, the fledgling decided to fly west on 8th Street, back to the park and into the nest tree.

Tompkins fledgling A2 takes flight

Tompkins fledgling A2 takes flight

The flight was straight and level, very impressive!

Tompkins fledgling A2 takes flight

The hawk landed in the ginkgo tree, about 20 feet below the nest where its sibling perched.  Both Christo and Amelia came to the nest to check on the kids.

Below, the older sibling branches but still (as of July 15) has not taken flight.

Tompkins A1 branching

The young hawks spent the rest of the day at the nest. At 8pm, Christo made a dinner delivery.  As far as I know, the fledgling had not been fed since it left the nest on Friday, which would have been 30 hours prior.  It never cried for food and seemed to be just fine, so I trust the parents have everything under control. 

I spent this afternoon (Sunday, July 15) in the park and saw feedings take place at the nest. It could be the parents prefer to keep feeding the young hawks at the nest until the second one fledges. The fledgling spent a few hours in the high tree canopy near the Avenue B and 7th Street entrance of the park before flying back to the nest just before sunset.

I will update as I know more.

In the meantime, you can see many more recent hawk photos on my Flickr page.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Big day for Tompkins first fledgling

I went to Tompkins Square Park late morning on this Friday the 13th and saw that one hawklet was in the nest and the other was perched a few feet away on a branch of the same tree. I waited around a while, but not much was happening and it was starting to get pretty hot, so I left the park to get some lunch.  As I was waiting for a sandwich, a fellow hawk-watcher friend called to tell me she had just seen one of the chicks fledge!  The time was 2:02pm.

On my way back to the park, I spotted Christo, who was already on the scene at Avenue B and 8th Street.


When I rounded the corner, I spotted the fledgling up in the gutter of St Brigid's church.  It was very fortunate my friend saw the fledge, as she was the only witness and we might not have been able to locate the hawk if she hadn't seen where it went.

Baby's first trip out of the nest tree

Looking closer, I was surprised to see this is the younger of the two chicks.  My, how things have changed in six weeks!

Tompkins fledgling A2

Tompkins fledgling A2

The fledgling still has a tuft of down poking up from the top of its head.

Tompkins fledgling A2

While the fledgling rested on the church roof, mom Amelia flew in and took a dip in the gutter.  She remained in there for over an hour, simultaneously cooling off and keeping an eye on her kid.  She also kept her eyes on me, which became unnerving after a while as she stayed low in the gutter with only the top of her head visible. She stayed in there for over an hour.

Amelia eyes me from a rain gutter

From her vantage point, Amelia could probably see across the street to the park where the other hawk chick was branching and flapping its wings.

Tompkins hawk chick #1

I really hoped this one might fledge as well, but it opted to spend another night at the nest.

Tompkins hawk chick #1

Back at St Brigid's, the fledgling began to explore the length of the gutter along the roof.

Tompkins fledgling A2

Tompkins fledgling A2

Tompkins fledgling A2

Tompkins fledgling A2

At one point, Christo chased off a kestrel high above the church.

Christo battles a kestrel

All remained calm below where pigeons felt confident enough to bathe close to the fledgling.

Tompkins fledgling eyes bathing pigeons

Such a baby face!

Doe eyes

Tompkins fledgling A2

At 7:40pm, the fledgling decided to leave the church and venture east on 8th Street.

Tompkins fledgling A2

It aimed for a fire escape...

Tompkins fledgling A2

...and managed to land between the rails rather than on top of the railing. 

Tompkins fledgling A2

The hawk ended up wedging itself between the bars and seemed not to be able to move for quite some time.  A crowd of concerned neighbors gathered and discussed what to do if the hawk needed help.  Thankfully, the fledgling eventually freed itself and went to roost on the top of the fire escape platform. Thank you to all the neighbors who were ready and willing to perform a rescue; let's hope the little one has learned a lesson!

Stay tuned for more updates as the other hawklet is expected to fledge any time.

Friday, July 13, 2018

First fledge at Tompkins Square

Good news! The younger of the two red-tailed hawk chicks in Tompkins Square fledged the nest today at 2:02pm. More details and photos to come...

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Jumping, flapping and exploring

The last couple of days have seen the Tompkins Square hawk chicks being very active and achieving a milestone in their development: branching. Both youngsters have been vigorously testing their wings and jumping up and down on the nest. Mom Amelia is spending less time on the nest, so the kids have room to move around and stretch.

July 10:

There are subtle differences between the hawklets and I believe #1 (oldest) is on the right while #2 is on the left.

Tompkins #2 and #1

#1 peers out at me from the leaves.

I spy with my little eye...

#2 climbs up a branch just above the nest.


I'm not sure which chick this is, but it's completely out of the nest.

Out of the nest

July 11:

When I arrived at the park, I was greeted by #1.

Tompkins Hawklet #1

Testing those wings...

Tompkins Hawklet #1 tests wings

Whoa, the hawk flapped its way a couple of feet up and away from the nest.  This is the same area of the ginkgo tree where the first 2016 fledge happened.

Tompkins Hawklet #1 goes exploring

I made my way around to the other side of the nest in time to see #2 getting adventurous.

Tompkins Hawklet #2 tests wings

Look at those wings!

Tompkins Hawklet #2 tests wings

Catching some air!

Tompkins Hawklet #2 tests wings


Tompkins Hawklet #2 tests wings

Fledge time for the chicks could be any day now. 

Meanwhile, dad Christo has begun his summer molt. He's looking kind of pale and raggedy.  In the photo below, a feather puffs out from above his eye.  This is all normal.

Christo begins his molt

I've always thought that Christo looks kind of awful as he molts, maybe because he normally looks so sleek and handsome. He'll probably look worse before he looks better, which should be in a month or so.

Christo begins his molt

Amelia isn't showing many obvious signs of molting, but I saw today that she has lost four tail feathers. It will be interesting to see if she transforms much during this time.


Amelia was definitely feeling the heat this week and took an evening dip in the gutter of St Brigid's church to cool off and have a drink of water.

Amelia takes an evening dip in the gutter

Amelia takes an evening dip in the gutter

Dora used to bathe in this same place, as noted back in 2016. I find it interesting that both female hawks have used the same gutter for bathing when they had a nest in the ginkgo tree.  Maybe this is because they can still keep an eye on the nest across the street from this spot.