Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Tompkins Square, we have lift-off!

We've had our first fledge from the Tompkins Square red-tail nest. Around 5:40pm on Monday, June 5, the first chick took the plunge and flew from the nest tree to another tree about sixty feet away.

This was the moment just before the fledge. As two chicks played around in the nest on the left, the oldest chick branched out to the edge of the tree on the far right. It sat still for a while, so I wasn't expecting anything to happen, but it suddenly took off.

The fledgling looked a little rattled after landing high in a tree.

After getting its bearings, the fledgling spent some time exploring the branches.

Before nightfall, the fledgling flew out of the tree and roosted in the trees on the east side of the park.
Early the following day, I found the fledgling back in the original tree to which it had fledged the evening before.

It seemed more confident, easily flying back and forth between trees near the nest.

I returned later in the day as the smoke from wildfires in Canada darkened the sky. You can see the peculiar orange light on the fledgling in the photo below.

All of my photos from the last couple of days have a muddy appearance because of the awful lighting conditions.

Today, June 7, I was curious about how the smoke was affecting the birds as I was myself having trouble breathing. When I arrived at the park, the younger two chicks were still in the nest and, as I watched, the fledgling appeared out of nowhere and landed back in the nest tree.

In the photo above, the perched chick is on the very same branch from where its sibling fledged, so perhaps it is feeling some inspiration.

All three young hawks hung out together in the nest while their parents kept watch from nearby. As the smoke did not dispel and it felt too unhealthy to remain, I left for the day.

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