Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Ready for their close-up

We continue to monitor the Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk family closely, and they're all looking well. The fledglings have been soaring high over the neighborhood, following dad Christo as he hunts for food. We've observed them atop the Christodora Building, their highest perch yet.

The other morning, we had the opportunity to see one of the fledglings up close as s/he hunted for rodents in a garden.

Fledgling red-tailed hawk portrait

S/he is a real beauty.

Fledgling red-tailed hawk profile

Fledgling red-tailed hawk profile

Fledgling red-tailed hawk close-up

Fledgling red-tailed hawk close-up

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling in the grass

This one didn't have much success finding prey under a bush, so they hopped up top to see if there was anything to be had there. Note the handy toilet paper roll nearby.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling goofing around

The park squirrels continue to torment the fledglings. To date, we've not seen the hawks catch one, but they sure do try. The squirrel in the photo below knew it was safe behind the fence. It felt so confident, it didn't even drop its peanut!

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling and squirrel

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling on a fence

Hunting, playing and soaring is tiring, so the fledglings make time for a quick nap on a tree branch.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling taking a rest

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

The fledglings this season seem to be more fearless than ever. Growing up in Tompkins Square, they are exposed to a lot of human activity and have a high tolerance for our presence. Dogs are an ever-present danger to them, but the one in the photo below was on a leash and behind a fence. Even so, the young hawks will need to learn to be more wary.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling perched on a rock

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling taking off

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling perched on a fence

One of the fledglings looking very focused on a dark and humid morning:

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling looking moody

Meanwhile, parents Amelia and Christo are keeping close watch over their offspring and remain in the area. Amelia seems to have retired to her summer home atop the dome of Most Holy Redeemer Church on E 3rd Street. We've not seen her involved in feeding the fledglings recently - handing that duty off to dad, Christo - but she remains vigilant and watches over their territory.

Amelia on the dome of Most Holy Redeemer

Christo (and Amelia) has begun his summer molt and is starting to look pale and scraggly. This is normal and he'll look worse as summer heats up and he sheds his ragged feathers. He always shows a pretty dramatic change as he molts, but will look dapper again in September.

Christo on the cross of Most Holy Redeemer

Christo and Amelia atop Most Holy Redeemer the other night:

Christo and Amelia atop Most Holy Redeemer

You can really see the size difference between the two, with Amelia being notably larger. Even while molting, they're a gorgeous pair.

Christo and Amelia at sunset

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