Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Christo and Nora react to Dora's return to Tompkins Square

Following Dora's triumphant return to Tompkins Square on Monday, I was apprehensive about how Christo and Nora would react to her sudden presence.  As soon as Dora perched in a tree, Christo appeared and called to her.  He seemed to recognize her right away, which made me happy.  He flew off after about ten minutes and Dora spent the next hour or so resting and preening high in a tree.

Then Nora appeared atop the Christodora (below, left).

Christo and Nora atop the Christodora

Nora perched there for a couple of minutes before taking off and circling above the tree where Dora sat.

Nora and Christo atop the Christodora



Then all hell broke loose.  Dora flew out of the tree and went towards the center of the park.  Nora quickly followed, as did Christo.  All three hawks flew around the park screaming, as did all the people who were running around trying to keep track of all of them!

Dora briefly perched in the old 2017 nest near the Temperance Fountain.

Dora in the old 2017 nest

Then she moved to the tall sycamore tree on Avenue A and St Mark's Place and screamed.

Dora calls from her sycamore tree

While she was there, Nora and Christo flew to the top of a building on 7th Street and Avenue A.  All three of them were vocalizing and it was chaos for several minutes as I tried to follow all of them.

Nora and Christo

I have to be honest and say I was disappointed that Christo stuck so close to Nora, but he probably chose to stay with her because she is his most recent mate and it made sense to him.  Nora likely saw Dora as an intruder in her territory, so she naturally got upset.

Christo and Nora left the park and Dora flew behind some buildings on Avenue A, so the park was suddenly hawkless.  After a half hour or so, Christo and Nora reappeared atop the Christodora and began mating.


Christo and Nora mating atop the Christodora

As I watched this from the park near the flag pole, Dora reappeared in a tree near the Temperance Fountain.  My heart sank knowing she saw Christo taking up with another female.  After that rude display, Christo and Nora left the area for the rest of the day.

Dora, having the park to herself, visited some of her regular perches like St Brigid's church on Avenue B.

Dora at St Brigids

Dora at St Brigids

Dora at St Brigids


She spent the last hour or so of the day sitting in the ginkgo nest before going to roost on a fire escape on 7th Street. 

Dora in the ginkgo nest

Christo reappeared on the cross of St Nicholas of Myra church on Avenue A and 10th Street after sunset, then went to roost in some trees on the north side of the park.

The following morning (Tuesday), fellow hawk-watchers reported that Christo and Dora spent at least an hour working together on the ginkgo nest.  This was very good news as it means they're bonding again.

Around mid-day, Dora flew south of the park and wasn't seen the rest of the day.  I was curious about where Nora might be, so I went searching and found her with Christo on a water tower at the Lillian Wald Houses on Avenue D.  In the photo below, Christo is on top of the tower and Nora is on the railing lower down on the left.

Nora and Christo

The pair flew off the tower and went north, so I followed them up Avenue D a couple of blocks where I found them mating on a rooftop at the Jacob Riis Houses.

I returned to Tompkins where, in the absence of all the adult hawks, an immature red-tailed hawk was inexplicably hanging out in the middle of the park.  More on that in the next post.

Tuesday's visit left me with more questions than answers, so I was happy to receive reports this morning (Wednesday) from dedicated early-rising hawk-watchers that Christo and Dora were again working on the nest in the ginkgo tree in Tompkins Square.  I returned to the park this afternoon and was pleased to see Dora stay in view the entire time. When I left her tonight, she had gone to roost on a fire escape near St Brigid's church.

It's only the third day since Dora has returned, but it seems that Christo is looking after both female hawks.  Dora is staying in and around the park while Nora prefers to stick to the tall buildings along Avenue D.  I've seen Christo and Nora mating, but Christo and Dora are building the ginkgo nest together.  I haven't seen him mate with Dora yet and I don't know yet if he has a nest with Nora.  Christo seems willing and able to take on two families, but I have to wonder if Dora and Nora would tolerate that.  The next few days should be interesting.

More photos from the last couple of days to come...

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