Thursday, February 24, 2022

Christo and Amelia are almost good to go for Nesting Season 2022

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia, have been busy working on their nest and preparing for the spring breeding season.

Below, Christo is seen tearing a piece of bark from a tree. This is usually one of the last stages of preparing the nest. Judging by the torn-up condition of the tree trunk, this looks to be one of his favorite sources for bark.

Christo takes a piece of bark from a tree

The hawk pair has also been mating. Below, Christo is seen hopping aboard Amelia.

Christo jumps Amelia

Christo and Amelia mating

Christo and Amelia mating

The pair were caught in action the other night just after sunset. In the video below, Amelia cleans her beak after eating a rat dinner, then Christo makes his move.

Afterwards, Christo unsuccessfully tries to break a branch off the tree.

After failing to impress Amelia with breaking a branch, Christo went and caught her another rat. In the video below, he has just given her the rat - her second dinner in less than 20 minutes.

After gulping down the last of the rat, Amelia moves higher in the tree and Christo flies off to go to roost for the night. Amelia went her separate way a few minutes later.

This is a photo of Christo in his favorite redwood tree. He likes to collect its seed pods for nest decoration (and possibly insect repellent).

Christo hanging out in his redwood tree

The rusty color of the redwood coordinates beautifully with Christo's plumage.

Christo flies off into the sunset

It won't be long until birds around the city settle into their nests. We always recommend tuning into Cornell's Live Hawk Cam to observe red-tails, Big Red and Arthur, as they reveal what takes place in a hawk nest in Ithaca, New York. 
Another good cam to watch this season is Landings Bird Cam which features a pair of Great Horned Owls and their recently hatched chick in Savannah, Georgia.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Spring is on the way for hawks, Christo and Amelia

It's a balmy 60 degrees today and Tompkins Square red-tailed hawks, Amelia and Christo, confirm spring is on the way.

The pair have been staying close to home, working on their nest and preparing for a new season of chicks. They were first seen mating on February 6, which may be the earliest we can remember.

We caught up with Amelia the other day as she inspected her nest.

Christo also checked out the nest. It's held together remarkably well over the last year despite several major storms.

Amelia goes hunting for the perfect stick in a sycamore tree:

She finds the one she wants in a scholar tree:

It takes a lot of gymnastics to break one off.


It's hard to see in the photo below, but Amelia is bringing in a stick that's longer than the nest is wide - about five feet long! We watched her as she collected it by jumping up and down on a branch until it broke, then catching it in her talons as it fell. She then flew it halfway across the park to the nest.

Christo finds a nice stick specimen.

Into the nest he goes.

After an hour or so of hard work, the pair take a break.

The hawks generally work on the nest right up until egg-laying time, which is usually mid-March. You can check out the nesting dates from previous years here.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

This week in East Village hawks

East Village red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia, have been reliably visible the last couple of weeks, often hanging out on the cross of St Nicholas of Myra church on Avenue A.

I feel like I've taken this photo a thousand times, but it never gets old seeing Christo up there in the late afternoon sun.

Christo in the evening sun

It's even better when the pair hang out together. Below, Amelia is on the left and Christo is up top.

Amelia and Christo in the late evening sun

On Wednesday, the two hawks were on the cross when something caught Christo's attention and he flew off.

Christo takes off as Amelia looks on

Note the difference in body size between Christo and Amelia. He is smaller than her and is generally slender. She's a little fluffed up in the photo below, but you can still see how much broader she is across the chest.

Amelia watches Christo take off

Christo leaps over Amelia

Christo soaring to parts unknown:

Christo with dark clouds in the background

After leaving the red-tails, I was greeted by an immature Cooper's hawk perched on my building when I got home. It was nearly dark and, at first glance, I thought it was a rooftop decoration.

Immature Cooper's hawk perches on a cellphone tower

The hawk spied a flock of pigeons and took off after them, so I headed inside for the night.

Immature Cooper's hawk takes off from a roof