Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Update on Dora

In sad, but not really unexpected news, we've learned that Dora will not be returning to Tompkins Square any time soon.  Her wing injury has not healed as quickly as we'd hoped, and she is still in the care of Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR).

This was posted on the WINORR Facebook page on Tuesday:
The injured female hawk from Tompkins Square Park is not where we hoped she'd be by now. Although the x rays were negative she had a serious bone infection requiring medicating and rest. Her still drooping wing may be permanent from either tendon, ligament, and or nerve damage. Those concerned about her possible return to her mate Christo for the upcoming breeding season that is not possible at the stage she's at. We are not giving up on her it may take months of exercise to regain her full flight so for now she must stay put and hopefully make great improvement needed.
To recap, Dora suffered a wing injury around November 30, 2017.  She was found on the sidewalk of Avenue C by the NYPD on December 4 and was taken to the Animal Medical Center for treatment.  Although she did not have any broken bones, the injury was infected and she was taken to WINORR for rest and recovery.

Meanwhile, a new female red-tail (Nora) suddenly appeared in the park as soon as Dora left.  This female appears to have been accepted by Christo, although I have not seen them demonstrating any bonding activity yet except perching near each other.  He has been working on the ginkgo tree nest by himself.  As breeding season is just starting up, it looks like it will be up to Nora to decide whether or not she'll stick around.

Seeing Christo and Dora separated really breaks my heart as they were a really fantastic pair, working so well together to successfully raise 11 kids (10 natural and 1 adopted) over the last four years.

This is the last photo I took of Dora on November 22.  At the time, she was chasing an intruding hawk out of the park.


This is one of my favorites from November 2015 as it shows Dora challenging a Peregrine falcon, upside-down and talons out.

Dora the red-tail takes on a falcon

Another favorite is when she surprised me by snatching a pigeon right out of the air over Avenue A.

Dora catches a pigeon in mid-air

Here she is taking fresh leaves to the Christodora nest in 2014.


Party of five

I will miss seeing Dora and Christo perching together, the power couple of the Lower East Side.

Dora and Christo

Dora & Christo

Christo & Dora at sunset

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Winter wildlife in Tompkins Square

I don't have much of a hawk update this week.  Dora is still in rehab and Christo has been working on the ginkgo tree nest in Tompkins Square.  Nora has been seen perching with him and watching him arrange sticks, but I have yet to see her participate in any bonding activity.  As nesting season is just starting up, the next month or so should be interesting.

Christo works on the ginkgo nest

Christo breaks a stick off a branch:

Christo breaks a stick off a branch

Christo is on the job cleaning up rats in the park...

Christo with a rat

He's a beautiful bird.


Food must be plentiful as Christo has been allowing Cooper's hawks to hunt in the park as well.  This immature Cooper's spent a whole afternoon hanging out in a tree near the chess tables.

Immature Cooper's hawk

Immature Cooper's hawk

Both Christo and the Cooper's have been active just after sunset, when their dinner comes out to play...


This winter has seen some other park regulars such as White-throated Sparrows:

White-throated sparrow

And Blue Jays. 

Blue Jay

And, of course, House Sparrows.  They are probably the most numerous bird in the park, but are often overlooked.  They're tough little survivalists and I find them really interesting to watch.

House sparrow

As I was eating my lunch in the park the other day, a male sparrow like the one above flew to my table, chirped loudly and looked at me expectantly.  I obeyed and gave him a piece of my croissant.  He sat next to me and ate it as I ate my sandwich and we quietly coexisted for about 15 minutes.  I couldn't have been happier.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lost in a fog

Today was one of those crazy weather days, beginning with thick dark clouds and heavy rain in the morning, and turning to bright sunshine in the afternoon.  During the transitional period, I was down at Battery Park where fog rolled over the harbor and huge clouds sailed up the East River.

This is the view from Pier A, looking south towards Governors Island.

Pier A

Governors Island looked like it was steaming, while Staten Island all but disappeared in the mist.

Governors Island in fog

Liberty Island:

Liberty Island in fog

Ellis Island:

Ellis Island in fog

Earlier in the month, I found myself on Governors Island on another day of thick fog.  This was the view looking back at lower Manhattan.

Foggy Manhattan as seen from Governors Island

Foggy Manhattan as seen from Governors Island

I had some companions on the island who disappeared into the murk at about forty feet.  There are two people in the center of the photo below.

Governors Island in the fog

Picnic Point at the south side of the island looked like an otherworldly fantasy.

Governors Island in the fog

The Statue of Liberty faded in and out of view.  I felt reassured each time her gold torch emerged from the gloom.

Liberty in fog

And today's fog and clouds made way for this...

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

I attended the NYC Womens March yesterday, which felt positive, strong and hopeful.  Below are some highlights.

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

 Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

Womens March NYC 2018

See many more photos from the march on my Flickr page.

Previously:  Womens March NYC 2017

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Another busy hawk weekend - Sunday/Monday edition

Continuing on from the previous post about recent hawk activity in Tompkins Square, Sunday and Monday proved to be equally interesting.

Sunday afternoon, I was surprised when an adult Cooper's hawk flew right past me on Avenue B and landed in a tree in the park.

Adult Cooper's hawk

After about five minutes, it took off and flew east on 7th Street.

Not long after, an immature Cooper's appeared in the park.

Immature Cooper's hawk

This one caught a rat.

Immature Cooper's with a rat


Cooper's hawk eats a rat

There was some commotion in the air and I looked up to see Christo chasing two immature red-tails over the park.  The photo below shows the two young hawks.  The one on the left has a lot of dark markings while the one on the right is very pale.

Two immature red-tails

The following day, the pale red-tail was chased out of the park by Christo, and rested a while on a fire escape on 9th Street.  Note the bulging crop - I'm not sure what the hawk ate, but it must have been big.

Red-tail with shadow

Here's some video of the hawk hanging out.

I did some comparison of photos and determined neither the dark hawk nor the pale hawk is the individual whose presence has been strangely tolerated by Christo and Nora.  This means there were at least three different immature red-tails around the park last week.

As the young pale hawk perched on the fire escape, Christo kept an eye on the park from the church cross at Avenue A and 10th Street.  He was buzzed by a Merlin (below), but didn't react.

Christo gets buzzed by a merlin

Poor Christo has a lot to deal with right now.  I'm not sure if he's going to partner up with Nora or not, and there are several other raptors invading his territory.  He did manage to relax and take a steam atop the Christodora building, perhaps thinking over what to do next.

At the end of the day, he's still a beauty.


Washington Square Park has also been seeing some recent hawk action.  Check out Roger Paw's post for an update on red-tails, Bobby and Sadie.

See more recent Tompkins Square hawk photos on my Flickr page.