Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Fledgling hawks beating the summer heat in Tompkins Square

It's that time of year when the city turns into a tropical humidity fest and the air feels heavy and sultry. Our resident red-tailed hawks are not immune to the heat and must take care to stay cool. They will often spend the hottest hours of the day resting in shady trees, but will also take opportunities to cool off in water.

Hawk siblings chilling in a puddle

Late one evening, well after sunset, we observed the the young hawk siblings find relief in a large puddle.

Fledgling red-tailed hawks in a puddle

In this video, one of the fledglings takes a few sips of water, then shimmies down in the puddle to cool its underside.


This video shows the other fledgling taking a few big gulps of puddle water.


And this video shows a fledgling in the chill zone while the band InCircles can be heard in the background.


Not even a frolicking squirrel can convince this hawk to move out of its relaxation pool.

Fledgling red-tailed hawk watches a squirrel dash by

The hawks generally get the water they need from the food they eat, but when it's hot, they do enjoy drinking it directly.

Fledgling red-tailed hawk drinking from a puddle

Fledgling red-tailed hawk in Tompkins Square

Fledgling red-tailed hawk in Tompkins Square

Fledgling red-tailed hawk in a puddle in Tompkins Square

Fledgling red-tailed hawk in a puddle in Tompkins Square

The hawks are no strangers to the park sprinklers as we've seen the youngsters play in them in the past when the weather gets hot. Last year, one of the fledglings took an extended shower, allowing itself to get thoroughly soaked. In 2016, a fledgling played with a stick while prancing around in a sprinkler. That same year, a fledgling joined some children in a playground puddle.

My personal favorite summer moment was also in 2016 when Christo took a drink directly out of the General Slocum memorial fountain.

Christo drinks from the General Slocum memorial fountain

Then, to everyone's surprise and delight, one of his kids followed suit.

Christo's kid hops up on the General Slocum fountain

Our urban wildlife can benefit from fresh water on these hot days. We've still got 58 days of summer to go...

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