Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Post-Thanksgiving raptor update

I haven't posted much about the Tompkins Square Red-Tailed Hawks, Christo and Amelia, lately because...well, I haven't caught them doing anything very interesting.

That said, I did find Christo in the park this afternoon perched in one of his preferred locust trees.


Both Christo and Amelia have been hanging out in their usual spots, and look to be doing just fine.This is the time of year when we start to see more raptors passing through the city, so our local hawks have to be vigilant about maintaining their territory.

On my way home this afternoon, I happened upon a Merlin eating a bird on top of a building.


This is another Merlin I saw this last weekend. They can be easy to miss - they're about the size of a pigeon and aren't often vocal, so they can go unnoticed if you're not paying attention, especially in the city.


Easier to spot was this young Red-Tailed Hawk that was perched in a tree near my apartment.

Immature red-tail

Immature red-tail

Over Thanksgiving, I had a chance meeting with an adult Red-Shouldered Hawk as it hunkered down in a tree at sunset. I believe this is the first adult I've ever seen in the city, so this was very exciting.

Red-shouldered hawk

After hearing squirrels making alarm calls, I found an immature Red-Shouldered Hawk hanging out in the same vicinity. This one was being pestered by a Blue Jay (lower right).

Red-shouldered hawk with blue jay

On Sunday, I heard a commotion and looked up to see this adult Cooper's Hawk flying overhead.

Cooper's hawk

It was joined by some American Crows who engaged it in a wild dogfight.

Cooper's hawk mobbed by crows

There were three crows in total and they took turns diving at the hawk, who in turn went after them, frequently flying upside-down and putting on a fantastic aerial show. This all took place so high in the sky, I couldn't see the birds with my naked eye as they eventually disappeared into the blue.

Cooper's hawk mobbed by a crow

Cooper's hawk mobbed by crows

Although I haven't posted many Tompkins Square hawk photos over the last few weeks, I do have a lot of photos of other NYC hawks I had the chance to observe this last season, so stay tuned!

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