Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Red-tails Christo and Amelia share Saturday brunch on First Avenue

After being out of town for several days, I eagerly set out on Saturday to find our local red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia. I didn't have to look far as I found Amelia perched on a building on First Avenue and 2nd Street.

Red-tailed hawk Amelia catches a pigeon

I must have just missed her catching this pigeon.

Red-tailed hawk Amelia with a pigeon

After perching for several minutes, Amelia readjusted her catch and began plucking it. As she did this, other pigeons kept trying to land on the ledge beside her. They seemed not to notice her until they were inches away, then would quickly turn and dive over the side of the wall. Over the next 45 minutes, as Amelia enjoyed her brunch, the pigeons repeatedly tried to land next to her, only to make the same mistake over and over. They really wanted to perch on that ledge!

Red-tailed hawk Amelia prepares a pigeon for lunch

From my vantage point on the street corner, I could see Christo flying up and down Avenue A. I wasn't sure what he was up to until he flew over to First Avenue, landed on a building across the street from Amelia, and let out a piercing scream.

Christo screams at an intruder

Circling over Amelia was an immature red-tailed hawk, an intruder in the territory.

Red-tail intruder

Amelia seemed not to care about the other hawk, but continued eating and eventually flew off towards Second Avenue. Christo kept screaming and chased after the younger hawk before landing in the same spot where Amelia had been.

Red-tailed hawk Christo lands at Amelia's spot

He picked up the brunch leftovers, which looked to be just a drumstick.

Red-tailed hawk Christo scavenges Amelia's pigeon

Christo took the pigeon leg over the buildings across the street, so I decided to head over to Tompkins Square Park.

Red-tailed hawk Christo takes off with a drumstick

When I arrived at the park, I saw Amelia and Christo had beat me there and were already perched on top of the Christodora on Avenue B. I wondered if they could be watching the intruder who was probably still around.

Red-tailed hawks Amelia and Christo keeping watch from the Christodora

I never got to find out, as Amelia suddenly took off and flew towards the East River. A couple of seconds later, Christo followed her.

Red-tailed hawks Amelia and Christo atop the Christodora

Meanwhile, in the park, the two old hawk nests are clearly visible now that the leaves have disappeared from the trees. Below is the most recently used nest in a ginkgo tree on the east side of the park.

Red-tailed hawk nest in Tompkins Square ginkgo tree

And this is what's left of the 2017 nest in a locust near the Temperance Fountain. This nest was home to the single hawklet, Ten, who was also Dora's last offspring.

Red-tailed hawk nest in Tompkins Square locust tree

We'll have to wait until some time around January or February to see what nesting plans Christo and Amelia make this season.

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