Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Christo encourages his kids to be less reliant on him for food

Our local Tompkins Square red-tailed hawks are not immune to the summer heat, but they are spending most of the hottest hours of the day sheltering in the shade of the park trees.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings

The hawks still have to eat, though, so the fledglings must continue to hone their hunting skills before they can successfully survive on their own.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

This fledgling takes a little stretch while resting in the shade.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling stretching

Meanwhile, the park squirrels still feel safe knowing the fledglings are not yet skilled enough to catch them.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling and a squirrel

On a recent evening, dad Christo delivered a pigeon to the fledglings who were perched high in a tree. As the youngsters scuffled over the food, the pigeon fell to the ground. Until now, Christo would go down and retrieve it for the kids. This time, however, he tried a different tactic.

As the fledglings watched from above, Christo flew down to the grass.

Christo flies down to the lawn

He walked around until he located the pigeon.

Christo locating dropped prey on the lawn

However, instead of picking up the pigeon, he called to the fledglings, notified them of its location, then took off.

Christo takes off

One of the fledglings decided to go down and get the food itself.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Success!

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling picks up dropped prey

The young hawk took the pigeon to a branch to eat while its sibling crept around the tree, perhaps looking to steal the food or get some scraps. In the end, the first fledgling didn't share, so this proved to be a lesson in self-sufficiency.

After dinner, the fledgling seemed inspired to catch some rats.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling perches on a fence

This tree stump in the middle of the grass apparently has rat holes underneath, and the hawk went digging around under the tree roots.

Fledgling hawk looking for rats in a stump

As the hawk poked its head in one side of the stump, rats ran out the other side, which was amusing to watch.

Fledgling hawk looking for rats in a stump

Hmm, where'd all the rats go?

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

The hawk decided to perch on a nearby fence where it could see rats running between garbage cans (this was after sunset, when the rats get active), and back to the shelter of the stump. The hawk made a couple of attempts to catch them as they scurried back and forth, but was unsuccessful this time. This video shows the fledgling on the fence, then flying to the stump.


As the fledglings get better at catching their own food, Christo will continue to supplement them as needed. Eventually, they won't need dad any more, and will be fully independent.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

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