Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Christo and Nora get a power-wash in the rain

Red-tail Christo is still working tirelessly on his nest in the ginkgo tree on the east side of Tompkins Square.  Nora has been spotted in the nest as well, but I have yet to see her gather sticks or engage in any other activity.

Christo in the ginkgo nest

During a brief moment of sunshine over the dreary weekend, I caught up with Christo as he broke sticks from trees on the east side of the park.

Christo breaks a stick

Christo breaks a stick

Christo with a big stick

Nest-building is hard work.  Fact!


On Sunday, I found both Christo and Nora atop the cross of St Nicholas of Myra on Avenue A and 10th Street during a deluge.  It's hard to see the rain in this photo, but it was pouring. 

Christo and Nora in a rain storm

People sometimes ask me where the hawks go when it rains and my answer is they go nowhere.  From what I've seen over the years, the hawks take advantage of the rain and enjoy power-washing their feathers.  Afterwards, they often perch in a high place and let the wind dry them off.

Below are some short videos of Christo (on top) and Nora (on the right) enjoyng Nature's spa treatment.

This video was taken at a slightly different angle.

Eventually, Nora flew off and Christo came down into the park where he landed on the central lawn and inspected an old wet dead rat.

Christo finds an old dead rat in the rain

Christo finds an old dead rat in the rain

Christo took a few bites of the rat before a dog got too close and spooked him.

After the sun returned...


I'm hoping for better weather and more nesting activity in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fun with a young red-tail in Battery Park

I enjoy spending time in Battery Park in winter as the cold weather keeps most of the crowds away and the park can be pretty quiet.  A young red-tailed hawk has been wintering in the park this season (previously featured in this post), and I was recently delighted to see it playing around on the main lawn.

Immature red-tail

This hawk seems to be attracted to pine cones, which make perfect toys.

Immature red-tail

I really love seeing young hawks run around, and I managed to get some video of this hawk curiously inspecting the vegetation.

In addition to pine cones, this hawk had fun wrangling a pine bough.

It doesn't get much cuter than this (action starts at the 50-second mark) -

Playful one minute, stern the next...

Immature red-tail

As nesting season starts up, these young hawks will likely migrate out of the city, so enjoy them while you can.

Immature red-tail

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Christo and Nora make a mating attempt

Christo seems to be taking the lead showing Nora how things are done during hawk mating season.

Over the weekend, I caught up with the pair as they hung out on the cross at St Brigid's on Avenue B and 8th Street (Christo is on the left, Nora is on the right).

Christo and Nora

After a short meeting, Christo flew across the street to Tompkins Square Park to work on the nest in the ginkgo tree.  Nora stayed behind and watched.

Nora and Christo

This stick goes there, and this one goes there...

Christo works on the nest

Christo seems to be showing Nora what to do.  I'm wondering if she's young and maybe has never built a nest before.  Or, maybe she was raised in a non-tree environment and needs to learn.  She appears to be comfortable on buildings, so perhaps she was born in an urban area.  Unfortunately, her background is a mystery.

While working on the nest, Christo would look back at the church where Nora perched.

Do you see what I'm doing?  Wanna join me?

Christo in the nest

Finished with nestorations, Christo returned to the church cross...

Christo flies in to Nora

...and hopped on Nora's back!

Christo and Nora mating attempt

Nora seemed to be more confused than anything else.

Christo and Nora mating attempt

Hmm, they didn't quite mate, but came close.

Christo and Nora mating attempt

After the three-second balancing act, Christo took off and returned to stick-gathering.  Nora stayed on the cross for a while, then eventually flew off to roost.

Christo and Nora mating attempt

Christo is moving ahead with what he's supposed to be doing for mating season.  Maybe Nora will become more enthusiastic after hormones kick in during the next few weeks.

Who could possibly resist this awesome guy???


Friday, February 2, 2018

When you get stuck between the moon and Christo

I was in Tompkins Square the other day when I heard a commotion and looked up to see Christo being chased by five crows. I snapped a photo just as he and one of the crows flew past the waxing moon. They ended up on top of the Christodora where Christo held his ground and the crows dispersed.

A hawk, a crow and the moon