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.

Branching

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

Ta-da!

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

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.