Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Christo and Amelia: business as usual in Tompkins Square

It's a strange and unprecedented time as we grapple with a global health crisis, and daily life has changed dramatically, especially here in the city. Each day brings new levels of anxiety, but we still have a calming constant, and that is Nature.

People have asked me how the (Tompkins Square) hawks are doing amidst this health crisis, and they are doing just fine. Christo and Amelia go about their daily routine as they brood their eggs, switching shifts on the nest, and taking breaks to fly around and stretch.

Christo and Amelia

The park has been very quiet recently as more and more people stay home, so I have to wonder if the hawks notice our absence, or if they are enjoying the lack of human activity. I suspect they don't care much, and are just proceeding with life as usual.

Even though the hawks are sitting on eggs and their nest is complete, it still requires plenty of housekeeping and maintenance. Below, Christo collects a fresh stick to take back to the nest.

Christo with a stick

Here he is perched just above the nest. Amelia is in there, but you can't see her at all when she's hunkered down.

Christo on his nest

Later, Christo teased me by being uncooperative for the camera.

Christo being uncooperative

This is Amelia on a recent bright blue morning.



I like how she crouches before springing off the branch. You can really see her beautiful eye color.

Amelia preparing for takeoff

This is Christo in mid-spring.

Christo taking off

And Christo with his wings extended, focused on the next task.


Christo is approximately seven years old now, approaching middle-age. He's really grown into a magnificent mature adult.


Amelia spends the most time in the nest, but Christo brings her meals and she comes out to stretch her wings.


I caught her soaring over Avenue B the other day.


She was in hot pursuit of this adult red-tailed interloper. While Christo stayed in the nest, Amelia dealt with the intruder, escorting it out of the territory.


One last photo of Christo as he was on the prowl the other evening, looking for rats in the park.


There's not much hawk activity in the park during this time while they brood, but so far, everything is looking good for them.

In related hawk news, the red-tailed pair over in Washington Square Park welcomed their first egg of the season around 4:45pm today. I just happened to tune into the live web cam as it happened. If you're stuck at home and need something to do, tune into the cam and see what goes on at a hawk nest. They will likely lay more eggs over the next few days.

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