Thursday, June 20, 2024

Tompkins Square hawk fledglings hanging out and chilling

Today is the first day of summer and the beginning of a heat wave here in the city. The Tompkins Square hawk family has been keeping cool by hanging out in the shade of the park trees.

Here is one of the fledglings who is already looking all grown up:

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

This is one of its siblings:

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

There are three hawk fledglings and it appears that two of them like to stay close to each other while the third prefers to have more of their own space. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it's the two older hawks who hang out together. 
 
Here they are on Tuesday evening:

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

It's hard to tell from these photos, but the one on the right is a bit larger than the one on the left. It could be they are male (left) and female (right), but I'm not really sure, and it's impossible to be certain just by looking at them.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

This is the pair a couple of days earlier. The one on the right is clutching a pigeon provided by Dad.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Mom and Dad give all three the attention they need. Both parents have been actively participating in the feeding of the kids. Below, Amelia (right) brings a fresh pigeon leg to one of the youngsters.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling with mom.

Just before sunset on Tuesday, one of the fledglings went exploring in one of the park garden areas.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

It chased around some invisible prey (mice? rats? insects?) in the low vegetation.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Meanwhile, Dad Christo stares down a squirrel.

Christo watches a squirrel.

Christo watches a squirrel.

And Mom Amelia keeps her eye on all the activity from the corner of a building on Avenue B.

Amelia.

Amelia.

Flying into the park:

Amelia.

Finally, Christo delivers dinner (half a rat?) to his hungry family.

Christo with prey.

The whole hawk family continues to do well, and there will be more to come.


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Feeding time for Tompkins hawk family

It's been 15 days since the first two Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk chicks fledged the nest, and 11 days since the youngest made the big leap.  All three are doing great, practicing their flying skills and being cared for by mom and dad.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

On Sunday, two of the fledglings were confronted by a curious squirrel. After staring at each other for a minute, the squirrel determined they were not much of a threat, and scampered away.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings with a squirrel

Dinner time is my favorite time to observe the hawks. Dad Christo commands the proceedings and on this day, pigeon was on the menu.

Christo with dinner.

After securing the pigeon, Christo called out to Amelia to announce dinner was ready. She swooped in and took the pigeon from him.

Christo passes the pigeon to Amelia.

Amelia takes the pigeon from Christo.

These two work very well together. He catches the prey, and she prepares it for the kids.
 
Christo and Amelia.

One of the fledglings responds to the dinner bell.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

There was a moment of chaos when Christo delivered a second meal (a small bird) to Amelia in another tree and she was ambushed by one of the fledglings.

Christo watches Amelia and a fledgling battle for prey.

The fledgling took the food, but another came and tried unsuccessfully to steal it.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

The hawk with the food held up their wings to keep their sibling from getting close to their meal.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

As it mantled the food, the second fledgling could only watch as its sibling scarfed it down.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

Not to worry, though, as the parents make sure all three are fed well.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings.

The sequence above shows a milestone for the fledgling who got the food: it was able to take the prey and feed itself without the assistance of the parents. It's worth noting that Christo provided a small bird that the fledgling could handle on its own. 

More to come.

Friday, June 14, 2024

This week in hawks - June 14

Time moves quickly for the Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings. They've spent the last week getting their bearings in the treetops and are getting stronger and more confident with their flying.

June 5: One of the fledglings chills in a tree.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

One of the other fledgling stretches - note the two prominent brown spots on its chest. This is a useful field mark for identification.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

This is the same fledgling as shown in the top photo above. Note the pale stripe down the edge of one of its central tail feathers. This can also be a useful ID.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

More exploring the tree branches:

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

This fledgling's chest spots appear in two curved vertical rows on its left (our right) side. This pattern differs from the hawk in the second photo.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

June 8: The chest spots on this fledgling do not match the other two, so I believe this is the third sibling. It's difficult to tell them apart in person, but the older two seem to stick together most often while the youngest is on its own. This is not always the case, though.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

June 11: Two of the fledglings return to the nest for rest and sometimes food.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings in the nest

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings back in the nest

One of them plays around with a stick in the nest.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings back in the nest

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings back in the nest

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling playing with a stick

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings in the nest

Meanwhile, their sibling is perched in the tree on the central lawn.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

The fledglings command all the attention, so let's not forget their parents, Amelia and Christo, who are staying very close to their offspring, feeding them and keeping them safe.

Amelia:

Amelia

Amelia

Christo on his flag pole, looking very serious:

Christo

The fledglings will continue to familiarize themselves with their environment and the parents will provide them with food until they can learn to hunt on their own. 
 
Stay tuned.