Monday, December 19, 2022

More interesting vocals from Amelia, and a winter hawk round-up

Tompkins Square red-tails, Amelia and Christo, have been keeping very busy lately with battling young interlopers. In this post from December 7, I was able to get a recording of Amelia making some interesting chirping sounds while dealing with an immature red-tail intruder. Since then, I have observed her making those same sounds while fighting an immature hawk, who I presume is the same individual.

Last week, the afternoon seemed calm enough, with Amelia and Christo perched in their usual spots atop the Christodora building on Avenue B.

Red-tails Amelia and Christo perched atop the Christodora building.

At some point, something caught their attention and the pair began flying around the park vocalizing. When they make the classic adult red-tailed hawk scream, it's usually because they've spotted an intruder in their territory and are trying to chase it out. 
Amelia eventually landed on the cross of St Nicholas of Myra church on Avenue A, but I lost track of Christo.

Amelia atop the cross of St Nicholas of Myra on Avenue A.

Both hawks kept flying around chaotically until sunset, when I was no longer able to see what was going on. 

This same scene repeated itself for several days. All three hawks would chase each other around after dark, making a commotion, but I wasn't able to get photos or video because of the darkness. Friday evening, I was able to get another audio recording of Amelia and the immature red-tail as they battled in the trees. My impression was the young hawk wanted to roost in the park, but Amelia would not have any of it, and kept knocking the intruder out of the trees. At one point, it was so dark that even she got tangled in tree branches and had to give up and go roost somewhere else.

This is the recording of the angry hawk sounds - not exactly a voice you might expect from fighting hawks!

I've noticed that these incidents involve both Christo and Amelia as they work together to defend their turf, but Christo is the first to give up the fight as darkness falls. Maybe he can't see as well, or just doesn't feel as threatened? Amelia, on the other hand, continues to fight off the intruder(s) as long as she possibly can. 
I don't know if the young red-tail they have been fighting is the same individual (there are several around this time of year), but the one I have seen going up against Amelia is a force with whom to be reckoned. It has a lot of nerve, and is not easily intimidated.

Anyway, it's been fascinating to observe. Below is a round-up of winter photos of Amelia and Christo, some immature red-tails, and a couple of Cooper's hawks.


Amelia perched in a tree, looking at me inquisitively.

Immature red-tail:

An immature red-tail stalking around a tree in winter.

An immature red-tail posing in a tree.

Another immature red-tail aggressively confronting the first.

Two immature red-tails fighting in a tree.

The battle for the tree branch over, one of them took off.

An immature red-tail flies to a tree branch.

An immature red-tail showing off its beautiful plumage in winter.

I really love how red-tails look in winter. Their coloring contrasts nicely with gray winter skies.

An immature red-tail soaring on a cloudy winter day.

An immature red-tail flying against a cloudy backdrop.

My favorite lighting is low bright sun beaming in against dark storm clouds. This happened recently on Avenue A and I was lucky enough to catch Amelia lit up with the dark sky behind her, but she wasn't very cooperative about posing.

Amelia flying in bright sun with dark storm clouds behind her.

Here she is on an overly bright day.

Amelia flying straight overhead.

Amelia flying overhead, showing us her perfect form.

Amelia joining Christo on the cross:

Amelia joins Christo on one of their favorite perches.

Amelia and Christo on the cross of St Nicholas of Myra church.

A different day, Christo perched on top of the cross while Amelia sat on the right.

Christo and Amelia perched on the cross in late afternoon light.

A short while later, the two changed position with Amelia on the left and Christo taking off from the top.

Christo takes off from the cross.

Another day, Amelia took off from the top of the cross. I keep telling myself I'm going to stop photographing them on this perch because I have hundreds of versions of this photo, and it's getting really tedious, but I just can't help myself when I see them up there.

Amelia takes off from the cross.

I've been seeing a good number of Cooper's hawks around this winter as well. This one is an adult.

An adult Cooper's hawk flies past me.

An adult Cooper's hawk seen flying against a cloudy sky.

And this one is an immature, seen earlier this week.

An immature Cooper's hawk flying against a cloudy sky.

Here is a closer view of the same hawk. I was trying to count the number of House Sparrows in a bush when the hawk dove in and scattered them all, lol. And so it goes...

An immature Cooper's hawk perched in a bush, hunting for sparrows.

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