Sunday, July 29, 2018

Tompkins Square red-tail fledgling has passed away

A heartbreaking update to the Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawk who was rescued by Urban Park Rangers on July 25:  WINORR reports that he passed away early this morning from the ravages of rodenticide poisoning.

From their Facebook post:
At 5:30 this morning I went to feed and medicate the Tompkins square park youngest only to find he had passed away between 3 am an 5:30 a.m. this is so gut wrenching. I've put all my efforts and energy into trying to fix the selfishness and ignorance of the human race. this beautiful young soul will never sore high up in the clouds bringing the caring people joy and happiness of watching his magnificence. He never got the chance to live his life. Instead he suffered a horrible death. How hard is it to clean up after yourselves and take pride in our planet and all that live in it???

Tompkins red-tail siblings
The older sibling who suffered rodenticide poisoning is on the right.
Secondary poisoning happens when one animal (like a rat) eats poison, then the predator who eats the prey animal dies from the poison.  Our hawk likely ingested rodenticide from a poisoned rat or mouse that was brought into the park by its parents.  Tompkins Square Park does not use rodenticide, but the surrounding area is full of it.

I want to thank Cathy and Bobby Horvath from WINORR who did all they could to save our Tompkins Square hawk.  They have rescued and rehabilitated countless birds and animals around the city and do amazing work. They do it out of the love they have for wildlife, and they do it all without funding, so please consider supporting their efforts by donating to their cause.

 Raptors Are The Solution (RATS) is an organization dedicated to educating people about the dangers of rodenticide and their mission is "to see all anticoagulant and other poisonous rodenticides taken off the market and no longer used by pest control companies due to their dangers to children, pets, and wildlife." I highly recommend checking out their site for alternative methods of rodent control.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tompkins Square fledgling hawk update

Following up on the Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawk fledgling who was rescued by Urban Park Rangers on Wednesday, the hawk is now in the care of Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR). Initial tests revealed the hawk is suffering from secondary rodenticide poisoning and is in very serious condition.

Rodenticide poisoning is a major concern for hawks (and other raptors and wildlife) in the city.  In 2016, we had the misfortune of seeing a hawk die in Collect Pond Park after it ingested rodenticide. It's a horrible death for any animal.

The Parks Department does not use rodenticide in Tompkins Square Park, but there is nothing to stop private property owners from using it, and the hawks do not confine their hunting to the park.  They could have brought in poisoned food from anywhere in the neighborhood.

For now, all we can do is hope the hawk was captured in time to respond to treatment.  The people at WINORR are fantastic and are doing all they can to save our baby hawk.  They do not get funding for their work, so please consider donating to their cause.

The photo below was taken on July 23 and shows the older fledgling who is currently with WINORR on the left, and the younger sibling on the right.  The younger one seems to be okay and can be seen flying around the park.

Tompkins red-tail fledglings #1 and #2

WINORR is also still caring for Dora, who is reportedly doing well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Urban Park Rangers rescue sick hawk fledgling from Tompkins Square

We've been enjoying the recent antics of the younger red-tailed hawk fledgling in Tompkins Square Park, but its older sibling has not fared so well.

While the younger hawk has been playing on the lawns and chasing after pigeons, the older hawk has remained high in the trees on the east side of the park. We thought maybe it was just taking its time before deciding to join its sibling, but today it became obvious that the hawk was not feeling well.

When I arrived in the park this afternoon, other hawk-watchers said the fledgling had been on the ground for almost an hour.  The young hawks do spend a lot of time on the ground, but this one remained in the same spot and kept closing its eyes, which is not normal.

Tompkins Square red-tail fledgling

Watching a flying insect:

Tompkins Square red-tail fledgling looks at insect

NYC Urban Park Rangers Rob and Nick responded, netting the hawk and examining it.  Below is video of the capture.

As always, the Urban Park Rangers were so nice and let people take a close look at the hawk before transporting it to the Animal Medical Center for testing and evaluation.

Urban Park Ranger rescues hawk in Tompkins Square

Urban Park Ranger rescues hawk in Tompkins Square

Urban Park Ranger rescues hawk in Tompkins Square

Urban Park Ranger rescues hawk in Tompkins Square

At this time, it's unclear what is ailing the hawk, but we'll update once we know conclusive results.

Thank you so much to NYC Urban Park Rangers Rob and Nick!  

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Red-tail fledgling frolics on the lawn in Tompkins Square

The younger of the two Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings continues to be the little adventurer. After catching a mouse on Sunday, the fledgling spent a lot of time on Monday flying around the park and playing on the ground.

The fences in the park make good hawk perches, as well as protecting planted areas from people and dogs.

Tompkins red-tail fledgling #2

As the gates to the main lawn were locked, the hawk had the whole area to safely use as a playground.

Tompkins red-tail fledgling playing in the grass

Going for a run...

Going for a run

Pieces of wood and bark are favorite toys for the hawk, who tossed them up in the air and practiced pouncing on them.  This play-hunting activity is important for learning to catch prey.

Tompkins red-tail fledgling playing with a piece of wood

Tompkins red-tail fledgling playing with a piece of wood

Tompkins red-tail fledgling playing with a piece of wood

 Tompkins red-tail fledgling playing with a piece of wood

Tompkins red-tail fledgling #2

After spending the afternoon having fun, the fledgling returned to the hawk family's favorite locust tree on the east side of the park where its sibling (below, right) perched. The older fledgling has yet to venture out of the area surrounding the nest tree, so I like to think the younger one told it all about the exciting world beyond the dog run.

Tompkins red-tail fledglings #2 and #1

Here is some video of the younger fledgling playing with a piece of wood on the main lawn:

Monday, July 23, 2018

Tompkins hawk fledgling catches first prey

The Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawk family is doing really well and the two fledglings are out of the nest, exploring the park.

On Saturday, I found both fledglings perched in one of the favorite hawk trees, the tall locust near the Avenue B & 9th Street entrance to the park. In the photo below, #1 (the older sibling) looks towards the camera while #2 perches just below it, behind some leaves.

Tompkins red-tail fledglings

#1 takes off...

Tompkins red-tail fledgling A1

...and makes a nice flight from the tree.

Tompkins red-tail fledgling A1

On Sunday, #2 proved to be the more adventurous of the two.  Although, it's the younger sibling, it was the first to fledge the nest. Judging by its small size, we're guessing it could be a male.

Tompkins hawk fledgling A2

After graciously posing for photos, #2 hopped to the ground and played around in the garden for a while.

Strolling through the garden

It practiced grabbing prey by picking up dirt clods and bark.

Tompkins hawk fledgling playing in the garden

Below, you can see the fledgling is carrying a small piece of wood in its left talon.

Tompkins hawk fledgling A2

After playing in the flowers on the east side of the park, the fledgling flew right through a live comedy show (heckler!) by the Krishna Tree and to the west side of the park before circling back and landing in the grass in front of the men's room.

We watched the hawk toy with something in the grass which turned out to be a mouse!

Baby's first prey

Baby's first prey

As far as I know, this is the first time the fledgling has caught its own prey.

Baby's first prey

After a few minutes play-catching the mouse, the hawk ate it, then took off to return to the east side of the park.

Tompkins hawk fledgling A2

The locust tree seems to be home base now, serving as the feeding station. In the photo below, the whole hawk family can be seen with Christo on the far left (his tail showing), then Amelia, #2, and #1 on the far right.

Tompkins hawk family

Christo had brought in food (pigeon), which he plucked and prepared before handing it off to Amelia.  In turn, she taloned handed it off to #2.

Fledgling takes prey from mom Amelia

The fledgling must have worked up an appetite flying around, playing and catching the mouse. An exciting day in the life of a young hawk!

Amelia hands off prey to fledgling

The fledglings are changing quickly by the day, especially the younger of the two.

You can see many more recent photos of the Tompkins Square hawks on my Flickr page.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

NYC Rat Academy 2018

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the Department of Health are hosting a Rat Academy this Thursday, July 26, from 6:30-8:00pm.  Details below:

I've attended the Rat Academy in the past and found it to be extremely informative and useful for learning how to prevent rat infestations.  Rat Academy is free and open to everyone, including property owners, maintenance workers, business owners and tenants.  There's even a raffle for rat-proof garbage cans!

I highly recommend attending if not for any reason than to brag to your friends that you are a proud graduate of Rat Academy.

You can RSVP to the event here.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Catching a glimpse the second Tompkins red-tail fledgling

The last few days have been a challenge trying to get a good look at the Tompkins Square hawk fledglings, but I had some luck late this afternoon.

The older sibling spent a lot of time hidden high in the trees on the east side of the park.

Tompkins fledgling A1

Eventually, it ventured across Avenue B to the Newsboys' Home where it was mobbed by my favorite tailless mockingbird.

Tompkins fledgling A1 and a tailless mockingbird

Tompkins fledgling A1 and a tailless mockingbird

The fledgling made a good flight back into the park.

Tompkins fledgling A1

Tompkins fledgling A1

The younger fledgling also made an appearance today, perching in an elm near the nest tree.

Tompkins fledgling A2

Tompkins fledgling A2

I'm really fascinated by the tailless mockingbird, who has harassed every member of the hawk family.  Below, it goes after mom Amelia atop the roof of St Brigid's church.

Tailless mockingbird mobs Amelia

This mockingbird is pretty gutsy!

Tailless mockingbird mobs Amelia

It bit Amelia's wingtips, but she completely ignored it.

Tailless mockingbird mobs Amelia

Meanwhile, dad Christo has been trying to lure the fledglings away from the nest with food.


Wednesday evening, he caught this mouse and called to his kids to come and get it, but no one answered him, so he ate it himself.

Christo with a mouse

Here he is preparing a pigeon for dinner delivery.

Christo kills a pigeon

Back at St Brigid's, Amelia glares at a pair of annoying jays. Blue jays, mockingbirds and robins have been mobbing the hawks pretty intensely this week.

Amelia with blue jays

For now, it looks like Christo and Amelia are dropping food off at the nest for the fledglings.  They're still being fed by their parents as they learn to fly and get to know the territory.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Second Tompkins hawk fledges

The older Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawk chick fledged the nest early in the morning on Tuesday, July 17.  It follows its younger sibling who fledged on Friday, July 13.

This time, however, there hasn't been much to see as the birds have mostly remained hidden high in the trees on the east side of the park. I caught glimpses of both fledglings today, but have yet to get a good, clear photo of either of them out and about in the park.

Parents, Christo and Amelia, have been keeping a close eye on the kids and have been fairly easy to spot.  I'm hoping to get some shots of the whole family in the upcoming days.

Christo & Amelia

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tompkins fledgling frolics on a fire escape, then returns to nest tree

The younger of the two Tompkins Square Park hawklets fledged the nest at 2:02pm on Friday, July 13. It spent the night on a fire escape on E 8th Street and I returned to the site at 7:45am on Saturday, hoping to catch the parents making a breakfast delivery.

When I arrived, the fledgling was still on the platform of the fire escape, hopping back and forth over the opening for the ladder.

Tompkins fledgling A2 at sunrise

After an hour or so, the fledgling finally hopped up to the railing.

Tompkins fledgling A2 finally makes it up to railing

In this more prominent position, the local mockingbirds had an easier time mobbing it. 

Tompkins fledgling A2 is entertained by a mockingbird

As did this angry female kestrel.

Tompkins fledgling A2 gets mobbed by a kestrel

Blue jays, robins and even sparrows took their turns harassing the hawk.  When this happened, mom Amelia would perch on the nearby cross at St Brigid's church, drawing the mobbers' attention away from the fledgling.

As the morning wore on, the fledgling practiced jumping and running along the fire escape railing.

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

Tompkins fledgling A2 frolicks on a fire escape

At 1:13pm, without having had any food deliveries from the parents, the fledgling decided to fly west on 8th Street, back to the park and into the nest tree.

Tompkins fledgling A2 takes flight

Tompkins fledgling A2 takes flight

The flight was straight and level, very impressive!

Tompkins fledgling A2 takes flight

The hawk landed in the ginkgo tree, about 20 feet below the nest where its sibling perched.  Both Christo and Amelia came to the nest to check on the kids.

Below, the older sibling branches but still (as of July 15) has not taken flight.

Tompkins A1 branching

The young hawks spent the rest of the day at the nest. At 8pm, Christo made a dinner delivery.  As far as I know, the fledgling had not been fed since it left the nest on Friday, which would have been 30 hours prior.  It never cried for food and seemed to be just fine, so I trust the parents have everything under control.

I spent this afternoon (Sunday, July 15) in the park and saw feedings take place at the nest. It could be the parents prefer to keep feeding the young hawks at the nest until the second one fledges. The fledgling spent a few hours in the high tree canopy near the Avenue B and 7th Street entrance of the park before flying back to the nest just before sunset.

I will update as I know more.

In the meantime, you can see many more recent hawk photos on my Flickr page.