Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Chilling with red-tails Amelia and Christo in Tompkins Square

Finally, after what seems an entire summer without much Tompkins Square hawk activity, I was able to spend some quality time with Amelia and Christo. The hawks have been around the neighborhood all summer, but without fledglings to raise, the hawks have spent a lot of time outside the park.

Yesterday, I caught up with Amelia as she perched in a tree on the east side of the park.


She had just eaten a pigeon, and spent about an hour quietly preening and stretching. She is still going through her summer molt, so she looks a little rough around the edges, especially around her eyes and face.

Below, Amelia stretches her right foot down below the branch as she extends her right wing.


She then fans her tail while stretching her right wing all the way behind her back. 


She bends forward while pulling her wings tight up over her shoulders. Hawk yoga.


And then she's off!


We can really see her bright caramel eye color and bulging crop.

Amelia with a full crop

We can also see Amelia has six complete tail feathers with two or three growing in. She'll have twelve tail feathers when molting is done. She also has several feathers growing in on her wings.


In the last light of the evening, Amelia landed on a high tree branch.


And struck a dramatic pose with a leaf and stick conveniently blocking her face from the camera.

Amelia and a stragetically-placed leaf

This is a pose I like to call stick-across-the-face-to-mess-with-photographers.

Amelia and a strategically-placed stick

Different hawk, different day, same stick!

This is Christo earlier in the week perched on the very same branch pulling the same trick with the stick blocking his face.

Christo and a strategically-placed stick

If you need a good laugh, I recommend following The Inept Birder on Twitter. The account showcases photos like the one above, as well as shots that could have been brilliant.

Here is Christo giving us a good view of his molting pattern. He has five complete tail feathers, three growing in, and four that are not visible yet.

Molting Christo

Christo in post-dinner relaxation mode:


When the hawks pull one leg in, or stick a leg out as seen above, they are chill and content. It makes me happy to see Amelia and Christo so laid-back and at ease.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Late summer Christo sighting

It's late August, which means the local red-tailed hawks are on semi-vacation. It's not unusual to not see them much this time of year, but they are around. Christo and Amelia do not migrate, but stay here to keep control of their territory. During the heat of the day, though, it can be difficult to find them.

On one recent evening, I found Christo hanging out atop St Brigid's church on Avenue B. He's still molting, so he looks a little ragged around the edges, especially above his eyes.


As the sun went down, Christo preened and stretched.


I observed him on the cross for about an hour and he looked thoroughly relaxed.


Just before nightfall, Christo took one last stretch before flying into the park to roost.


Since there hasn't been much recent hawk activity, I've been enjoying watching this live bear cam out of Katmai National Park, Alaska. Watching the bears chill out in a river, waiting for migrating salmon to leap straight into their mouths has been an entertaining way to find relief from the sticky NYC heat.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Rat Academy!

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the Department of Health are hosting a free Rat Academy on Thursday, August 22, from 6:30-8:00pm. Details are below:

I've attended the Rat Academy in the past and found it to be extremely interesting and informative. As we lost both Tompkins Square hawk chicks to rodenticide poisoning earlier this summer, it's even more important to get educated about controlling rats safely and effectively.

Rat Academy is free and open to everyone, including property owners, business owners, community garden volunteers and tenants.

FREE rodent-resistant trash cans will be raffled off to attendees!

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.

There is also a Facebook event page here.