Friday, August 5, 2022

Hawks dealing with summer heat

I risked heat stroke on Thursday and ventured out into the oppressive summer heat to find the Tompkins Square red-tailed fledgling and make sure it was doing all right. Thankfully, I found it quickly and observed it as it rested in the shade. The hawk was alert and looked just fine.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling on a hot day

When the hawks are hot, they let their wings pop out a little bit as they perch, catching the breeze.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling on a hot day

This pose reminded me of one of the fledglings from 2021 who also let their wings hang out on a sultry summer day:

2021 Tompkins Square hawk fledgling on a hot day

This hot time of year is when the adult hawks are in peak molt. Wednesday evening, I found Christo perched on the cross of St Nicholas of Myra, looking ragged and pale. This is normal for him.

Molting Christo

He stretched a few times, sticking his leg out and fanning his tail. I think he currently has six or seven tail feathers, so he has shed about half of them. When he grows his new feathers, he'll have twelve in his tail.

Christo stretching

Who is this ghostly creature?

Christo looking like an otherworldly creature

This is how Christo normally looks:

Handsome Christo on a normal day

Here are some closer looks at Christo's current rugged plumage.

Christo in summer molt

Christo in summer molt

Christo in summer molt

A few days ago, I caught him doing something I've seen other hawks do, but never him until now...

Christo in summer molt

Christo in summer molt

Christo flew to a west-facing roof and proceeded to take an extended sunbath, spreading out his wings and tail.

Christo taking a sunbath

There had been a heavy thunderstorm about a half hour before, so Christo was drenched. He spent some time preening his feathers, then laid out in the sun like this for about 15 minutes. The sweltering humidity was unbearable for me, but he must have enjoyed it.

Christo taking a sunbath

Finally, Amelia looking beautiful at sunset.

Amelia at sunset

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