Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Welcoming the new year with red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia

Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia, continue to reign over their East Village territory as we transition to a new year. The pair are doing well and have been very visible over the last few weeks. It's not yet nesting time, but they are spending a lot of time together in and around the park.

On Christmas Eve, we found Amelia catching some winter sun atop St Nicholas of Myra church on Avenue A.

Amelia the red-tailed hawk

This is a favorite perch for her, as it gives her a good view of the tasty pigeons who hang out on the nearby rooftops.

Something caught her attention and she took off.

Amelia perched on the church cross

Amelia is really a gorgeous hawk, and the more we observe her, the more we love her.

Amelia streatching her wings

Amelia taking off

Amelia the red-tailed hawk soaring

After a circle over the park, she returned to the church cross.

Amelia landing on the cross

A few seconds later, she took off again in the same direction.

Amelia taking off again

Amelia the red-tailed hawk flying

Amelia flies over our head

We lost sight of her as she flew down Avenue A, but found Christo perched in their favorite locust tree near Avenue B.

Christo perched in the locust tree

An immature red-tail flew overhead - perhaps this is what caught Amelia's attention, as we watched her chase the young hawk west towards 2nd Avenue.

An immature red-tailed hawk flies overhead

Returning to Avenue A on the last day of 2021, we found Christo and Amelia together on the church cross.

Christo and Amelia perched on St Nicholas of Myra

A sudden gust of wind caused Amelia to briefly lose her balance.

Amelia loses her balance on the cross

We spent New Year's Eve in Brooklyn where we witnessed a red-tailed hawk scared from its roosting place at the stroke of midnight when people set off fireworks in the street. The hawk had been perched somewhere behind a building, and when the noise started, it flew at least three blocks away from its roost. This was upsetting to see as the hawk was clearly stressed and it could have had a collision as it panicked and flew in the dark.

In the past, we've tried to observe the Tompkins Square red-tails during fireworks and they seem to tolerate the noise as long as it's not too close to where they are. However, we used to see Christo roost on a building on Avenue A regularly until a fire broke out in one of the apartments one night and the trauma of the situation appeared to dissuade him from returning to that spot as we've never seen him use that location since. The hawks may be "urbanized" but they're still sensitive to human activity.

Yesterday, we found Amelia on the Avenue A cross again as a crow took a dive at her. It seemed to just want to make its presence known and, when Amelia ignored it, the crow left her alone.

A crow checks out Amelia

A short while later, Christo joined her.

Amelia and Christo perched on the cross

But, Amelia had things to do and places to go, so she took off a few minutes later.

Amelia takes off over Christo

She flew over us and disappeared over some buildings. Until next time...

Amelia the red-tailed hawk soaring overhead

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