Thursday, January 26, 2023

Winter birds around town

Here are a few recent cold-weather bird observations from around the city, from tiny little guys, to ducks, to raptors.

Tufted titmouse:

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-Capped Chickadee

White-Breasted Nuthatch

American Robin

Hooded Merganser

American wigeon (male and female):

American Wigeons

Wood duck (eclipse male):

Wood Duck

Double-Crested Cormorant

American Crow

American Kestrel

Female kestrel:

American Kestrel

Northern Harrier

Male harrier:

Northern Harrier

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald eagles have been in the news recently for being seen more frequently around New York and New Jersey. You can check out this live eagle cam in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, which currently has two eggs in it.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Winter Red-tailed and Cooper's hawks

Winter is my favorite time to observe raptors. For one thing, they're easier to spot when all the leaves are off the trees. And, there are usually many immature birds around that are still learning to hunt and survive, and they can be a joy to watch. 

Here are some of my recent favorites.

Immature red-tailed hawk:

Immature red-tailed hawk flying.

Immature red-tailed hawk flying.

Immature red-tailed hawk flying.

Even the angels say, "Look up!"

Immature red-tailed hawk perched on an angel's wing.

Immature red-tailed hawk perched on an angel's wing.

Immature red-tailed hawk perched on an angel's wing.

Immature red-tailed hawk perched on an angel's wing.

Immature red-tailed hawk.

Immature red-tailed hawk.

This is an adult pair of red-tails on Governors Island (male above, female below).

Red-tailed hawk pair perched on weather vane.

When the moon is visible during the day, it's worth trying to line yourself up with a hawk perch. This happens more than you might think! For example, here is Amelia in Tompkins Square, and Christo perched on St Brigid's church, and Amelia on St Nicholas of Myra, all with the moon visible behind them.

The hawk pair in the photo above stayed in place just long enough for the moon to rise, then they both took off a few seconds later.

Red-tailed hawk pair with moon rising behind them.

Another adult red-tail:

Adult red-tailed hawk flying.

Adult red-tailed hawk pair perched together.

Another adult red-tail hanging out with a Blue Jay.

Red-tailed hawk with a blue jay.

I love how birds fluff up when it's cold.

Red-tailed hawk all fluffed up.

This is an adult Cooper's hawk checking us out on a dark and dreary winter day.

Adult Cooper's hawk.

Adult Cooper's hawk.

Here is an immature Cooper's resting after apparently eating a big meal - check out that bulging crop.

Immature Cooper's hawk.

Immature Cooper's hawk.

As the hawk rested, an American Crow visited the tree to casually eat some buds. I had the feeling the crow was being a little passive-aggressive and taunting the hawk, but nothing happened. The crow kept an eye one the hawk, the hawk ignored the crow, and all remained peaceful.

Immature Cooper's hawk with a crow.

One last adult Cooper's hawk:

Adult Cooper's hawk.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Welcome to 2023, Christo and Amelia!

We're starting the new year right with red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia, in Tompkins Square Park. I've been seeing them daily and never get tired of seeing them hanging out together.

Christo and Amelia enjoying some sun together.
Christo and Amelia.

They've been keeping a close watch on their territory as there are still other migrating hawks around.

Amelia and Christo perched on the cross of St Brigid's church.
Amelia and Christo.

Amelia and Christo taking care of business.
Amelia and Christo.

Earlier in the week, the pair was acting a little agitated, flying around together and vocalizing. Christo took up his spot on the roof of the Christodora building and looked back over the park.

Christo on the roof of the Christodora.

It turns out he was watching this young Cooper's hawk as it stalked starlings in a tree.

An immature Copper's hawk stalking birds.

An immature Cooper's hawk stares us down.

It didn't sit still long, as both red-tails flew toward it and the Cooper's was forced to leave.

A bright-eyed Cooper's hawk taking of from a tree.

After driving out the intruder, Amelia took up her perch on the cross of St Nicholas of Myra church on Avenue A.

Queen Amelia on her throne.

Amelia flying against a dark evening sky.

Another day, same cross:

Amelia landing on the cross of St Nicholas of Myra church.

Amelia on a church cross.

Amelia taking off down Avenue A.

This is Amelia on taking off from St Brigid's church on Avenue B on a dreary afternoon.

Amelia taking off from St Brigid's church.

Amelia flying against a dreary sky.

And this is Christo taking off from his flag pole.

Christo takes off from his flag pole.

Christo swooping close overhead.

He dove right over me and caught a rat in some bushes. After taking it to a nearby tree, he quickly gulped it down in 2-3 bites, then flew off to roost for the night.

Christo preparing for his evening meal.