Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Waiting game

Today marks the 37th day since Dora laid the first of three eggs this season, so they're due to hatch any time now.  Tune in to the nest cam to see any changes in activity.

This close-up photo of the three eggs was kindly sent in to us a couple of weeks ago:

All lined up and ready to go!

While we continue to wait for the eggs to hatch, Christo and Dora have established a bit of a pattern with exchanging nest duties.  Late in the day, around 6pm, Christo sits on the cross at the Most Holy Redeemer church on E 3rd Street, where he has a clear view of the nest, and waits for Dora to get up.

Christo atop Most Holy Redeemer church

Right on cue, Dora stands up.  Break time!


She takes off north up Avenue A.

Dora takes off

Christo flies in from the cross and takes over sitting on the eggs.

Christo and his beautiful red tail

I found Dora stretching out on top of the cross at St Brigid's on Avenue B & 8th Street.

Dora takes a stretch

Dora takes a stretch

Dora takes a stretch

When she was done stretching, she flew into her favorite gingko tree just inside the park entrance and rested for about 30 minutes.  As the sun set, she took off and flew up and down Avenue A chasing pigeons.  She didn't seem to be hunting them, just diving after them and making them scatter.  It looked to me like she was really enjoying herself. 

When she returned to the nest, Christo headed straight for the park where he wasted no time catching a rat.  The whole process - landing in a tree, looking around, pouncing, and carrying it up to a branch - took less then ten minutes.

Christo catches a rat

He ate the yummiest part - the head - then quickly took the rest back up to the cross at Most Holy Redeemer.

Christo catches a rat

Christo with a rat

Christo left the rat snack on the cross, then switched places with Dora.  She ate the rest of the food, then sat up on the cross until the sun went down at 7:55pm.  By then, it was too dark for my camera, so I didn't see where Christo went to roost, but he headed back towards Tompkins Square.


See more photos on my Flickr page.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ho-hum hawk week

It's been a rather boring week for hawk-watching, so I don't really have any exciting updates on Christo and Dora.

We are getting close to hatch time, which I'm guessing will be around May 1 (place your bets!).  We won't be able to see the hatchlings from the street, but we should know that something has happened when Christo suddenly becomes a food delivery maniac.  Until then, he is giving Dora breaks throughout the day.

After unsuccessfully looking for him in Tompkins Square Tuesday evening, I just happened to see him leaving the nest as I was on my way home.  You can just see Dora on top of the air-conditioner.

Christo leaves Dora up in the nest

Christo flew north on Avenue A to the park.  That was around 7pm, so I didn't follow as it was getting too dark.

Christo leaves Dora up in the nest

Earlier in the week, on Sunday, I caught him partaking in Endless Pigeon Brunch on Avenue A & St Mark's.

Christo plucks a pigeon

A sparrow looks on...

A sparrow watches Christo pluck a pigeon

After a few minutes, Christo took off and flew the left-overs up to the cross of the Most Holy Redeemer church on E 3rd Street.

Christo with a pigeon

He was only on the cross for about a minute before taking off again, empty-taloned.  My assumption is he left the food up there for Dora.

And, by chance, I spotted Dora atop the Christodora late one evening just as the sun set.


She rested up there for quite some time before making a beeline back to the nest on Avenue A.


See more photos on my Flickr page.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Killing time with Christo

While Dora continues to brood on the nest, mostly out of sight from the street, I caught up with Christo this last weekend in Tompkins Square.

I'd just been complaining out loud that I hadn't seen him up close in a while, so of course that's when he flew across the Avenue A playground with a pigeon.

Christo with a pigeon

After letting all the kids get a good look at his catch, he took it over to the chess tables where a small crowd gathered to watch.

Christo with a pigeon

But after several minutes of feather-plucking, he decided to take off.  He flew to the north end of the park near 10th Street, but I lost him and never saw if he ate the pigeon himself or shared it with Dora.

Christo with a pigeon

Monday night, I found him hunting rats behind the park offices.


Birds and squirrels swarmed all over the area, but he seemed bent on getting the rats that ran around in the bushes under the birdbaths.  I wanted to stay and watch him, but I got kicked out when the park employees locked the gate.

Lucky for me, Christo flew back out to the front of the offices and perched on the flagpole.

Christo on his flagpole

I don't know why he gave up on hunting in the back area, as he had a lot of dining options back there.  He spent the next hour or so diving from the flagpole into the grassy area just to the west, failing to catch anything, then back up to the flagpole. 


Watching him try to catch dinner over and over made me hungry, so I had to leave.  I hope he found what he was looking for...


See more photos on my Flickr page.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Avenue A hawk update

The big news is that word has come in from the Ageloff Towers that Christo and Dora now have three eggs.

The first egg was laid around March 23 or 24, and the other two were laid some time between March 27 and April 5.  My rough estimate is that we can look forward to hatchlings around the end of April or the first week of May. 

Looking back at the nest last year on the Christodora, we can compare the size of the two air-conditioners.  I think it will be pretty crowded up there this time around, but I have to trust that the hawks know what they're doing.

Other than that, it's a rather dull time for hawk-watching.  There is almost always one bird  on the nest, but they are not visible from the street when they're sitting down.  You can catch them switching places when Christo comes to relieve Dora of nest duties and she takes off for a lunch break.

Dora coming in for a landing
Christo is on the nest, but can't be seen as Dora comes in for a landing.

I've been seeing Dora perch on Village View on First Ave & 3rd St, and also on the cross of the Most Holy Redeemer on 3rd St & Ave A.

Dora peeks over the edge of the cross
You can barely see Dora peeking over the eastern arm of the cross.

Dora on the Most Holy Redeemer church dome
Dora resting on the dome.

Last season, Christo was almost always in Tompkins Square Park and I could easily find him.  This year, he seems to have changed his habits and is spending more time in the neighborhood SE of the nest.  I've seen him fly off that direction and return from there, but I have yet to find out where he goes.  Once the eggs hatch, I'm hoping he'll do more hunting in the park where we'll be able to observe him more closely.

Christo atop the flag pole in Tompkins Square.

See more photos on my Flickr page.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mr Rat's wild ride

It began on a lovely Sunday afternoon in Tompkins Square where Christo caught a rat...

Christo catches a rat

...and then flew it around the farmer's market on Avenue A & 7th Street. 

Christo flies a rat across the park

Pausing in a tree near the chess tables, Christo called Dora to come get lunch. 

Christo calls to his mate to come get lunch 

She was over on the nest at Avenue A & 3rd Street at the time, so I doubt she heard him.

Getting no response, he flew off with the rat, still calling...

Christo carries a rat to his nest

...and took it up to the cross of the Most Holy Redeemer church, four blocks south of the park.

Christo takes a rat up to the Most Holy Redeemer

After calling to Dora to come and get it (and still getting no response from her), he left the rat up on top of the cross and flew back to the park.  I couldn't see the rat from the street, but it struck me as being a sacrifice to the gods being up there like that. How many rats have been on top of that cross?

About 20 minutes later, Christo returned and retrieved the rat.

Christo takes a rat off Most Holy Redeemer church

I thought he was going to fly it over to Dora, who was sitting on the nest, but he circled over Avenue A a few times, then took it over to Village View at First Avenue & 3rd Street.

Christo takes a rat up to Village View

I thought he'd eat it there, but no!  A few minutes later, Christo took off with the rat again, made a few more circles over Avenue A, then headed east.

Christo flying with a rat 

This all took about 45 minutes.  As far as I know, Christo is still flying around with that rat...

See more photos on my Flickr page.