Friday, June 30, 2023

Hawks having fun

Below are some highlights of the Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings from earlier this week. They continue to hone their flying and hunting skills and are looking great.

Dad Christo provided a small rat snack and one fledgling claimed it while another looked on enviously.

The log on the east lawn has been a popular playground toy.

The young hawks are losing the yellowish coloring on their chests, which is now turning white.

Practicing walking on the balance beam:

The low swoops are always fun. If a hawk flies low over your head, it's not trying to hurt you, it's just practicing going after prey. I love when they make low passes and no one notices.

When a parent is in sight (like Amelia, below right), the kids beg for food. As time goes on, the parents will feed them less, providing incentive for the kids to catch their own meals.

But not to worry, parents Christo and Amelia will not let them starve. They always seem to know just when the young ones need a snack to keep them going.

More to come.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Tompkins Square fledgling hawks getting to know their turf

All three Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings continue to do well, improving their flying skills, learning to hunt, and slowly expanding their world. They continue to spend most of their time within the park, but have been seen occasionally flying across/along the surrounding streets. 

The fences within the park offer perfect perches for them to spot prey and practice take-offs and landings.

The fences also provide great opportunities for people to observe them.

Sometimes, they even use the benches to relax and enjoy a morning cup of joe. 

A man had been sitting on this bench, minding his own business, when one of the fledglings landed next to him and prompted him to vacate his seat. 
The young hawks are extremely curious and investigate everything.

I was not expecting this one to fly towards my feet. When this happens, it's necessary to move away and give the hawk as much space as possible. Although they appear to lack fear of humans, they really need to learn to be wary of us. And, although it was the hawk's choice to come close to me, it was necessary to back off and keep a safe distance. 

These photos were all taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

As they are discovering what prey is available to them, the fledglings often come to the ground to pick up worms, mice, and insects.

This one was checking out ants at the base of this tree.

Not finding what it wanted, the fledgling took off.

It's been fun watching the fledglings navigate the trees, learning to balance on branches and fly among the leaves. The one below climbs its way through a tangle of twigs in an attempt to reach the flat "patio" of the tree trunk.


This method of reaching the perch is much more efficient.

I love watching the hawks (or any bird, really) take off. That initial boost of strength to get airborne is always impressive.

Although the weather has been crummy lately (overcast, humid, thunderstorms), the hawks are unfazed and learning to deal with it, as all the other wildlife does. So far, they have been managing like pros.

Stay tuned...

Monday, June 26, 2023

2023 Queer Liberation March

Below are some highlights from the Queer Liberation March which took place downtown on Sunday. The theme this year was "Trans & Queer; Forever Here!"