Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling catches a pigeon

The Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling is quickly learning to hunt like a pro. We recently caught up with it as it stalked pigeons in the park.

Despite being a predator-in-training, the fledgling still has the appearance of a kid.

Other creatures, like this blue jay, are well aware the young hawk is still learning to hunt, and they take full advantage by harassing it. Smaller birds often annoy the hawks in this way, and it's just something they have to learn to endure.

While the hawk and blue jay were engaged in their scuffle, this pigeon landed on the side of a tree right in front of us. It was flying erratically and appeared to have a possible wing injury.

The pigeon leapt off the tree and flailed around in some bushes. This drew the attention of the fledgling hawk, who immediately zeroed in on it. When we saw the hawk stand up and stretch its neck to get a better look a the bumbling pigeon, we knew the inevitable was about to happen.

Sure enough, the hawk dove into the bushes and caught the pigeon, then took it to a nearby puddle.

The only problem was the pigeon was still alive, and began to struggle. This often happens and is hard to watch, but it's part of nature.

Thankfully, the pigeon's struggle ended quickly and the hawk was able to add the success to its expanding resumé.

In the span of less than ten minutes, we saw the hawk catch a second pigeon, as well as a rat. There was also a third dead pigeon present when we arrived, so we assume the hawk was responsible for that as well. There's no doubt this little guy (just 3.5 months old) is on its way to becoming an extraordinary hawk.

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