Friday, July 8, 2022

Hawk fledglings hunting, playing with sticks, and eating worms

Each season, I tell myself I won't take so many hawk photos because I always end up with too many to handle, but the fledglings are so irresistible, I can't help it. So, there will be many hawk posts this summer.

And why not - check out this, big guy!

The Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings are now just shy of twelve weeks old. Despite being full grown, they still possess "baby" faces and behave like toddlers.

All their play - running, swooping, snatching up sticks, chasing squirrels - has a purpose. They're quickly learning to catch prey and fly with more speed and agility.

In this video, the two fledglings play with a tree branch.

And this video shows them catching and playing with a large earthworm.

I have speculated that there were originally two females and one male fledgling, and judging by the size difference between the two survivors, I'm guessing we are left with a male and female. I did get confirmation that the fledgling who died on July 4 was female.

Below, it's likely the hawk on the left is female and the one on the right is male.

The hawks are making use of the fences in the park, which serve as convenient perches as they search for prey in the vegetation.

The hawks also search for mice, rats and other little critters by walking around on the ground.

The fact that hawks can survive and breed in Manhattan is amazing. It's a testament to their adaptability as a species, but also to the improvements we've made to our environment. If we all cooperate and care for our parks and natural areas, we can have so much more.

More beautiful creatures like these...

The fledglings have so many challenges facing them in this urban environment, but they also have plenty of hostility to deal with in the bird world. This video shows one of the fledglings patiently eating dinner while being bullied by an aggressive blue jay. The hawk does a great job of ignoring the rascal.

More to come...

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