Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Tompkins hawklet learning to catch prey, taunted by squirrels

The Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling continues to do well and is quickly learning to hunt and catch prey. Below, the fledgling holds up a freshly-caught rat.

We've seen the fledgling catch rats and pigeons, but one thing it still needs to master is carrying its food up to a tree or safe place to eat. Below, the young hawk sits atop a pigeon in the middle of the park while people and dogs are nearby.

Everyone was respectful of the hawk in this instance, but the bird needs to learn to be more wary. As it was born in the middle of an urban area, it's accustomed to human activity and noise, so we need to ensure it has a safe environment in which to grow.

After eating its meal on the ground, the hawk flew low across the plaza...

...and landed on top of a trash can.

From there, it spied something interesting on the ground, and ventured back down to investigate.

Squirrels continue to tempt and taunt the young hawk, who'd love nothing more than to catch one, but the tricky rodents know how to elude capture. In this video, the hawk tried in vain to nab a squirrel, but they all easily slip away.

 

The squirrels continue to out-maneuver the hawk in this video.

 

As the fledgling is still a kid, it does cute kid things like playing with a pigeon feather.

 

There's something about seeing the hawk run across the grass that always amuses us.

Playing with sticks is good practice for nest-building and prey-catching.

Dead leaves also make fun playthings.

Tompkins Square is outfitted with many iron fences that make perfect perches for the hawks. Below, the fledgling practices keeping balance. With large talons, it must be harder than it looks.

Perching on the fences puts the hawks at eye-level with humans, bringing them into our realm.

Take care when walking through the park - there could be a raptor waiting for its close-up.

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