Monday, July 22, 2024

Tompkins hawk fledglings explore rooftops and buildings

The Tompkins Square hawk fledglings have been exploring the streets and buildings surrounding the park.

I found this one perched on top of a building on Avenue B and East 7th Street.

Fledgling hawk on a rooftop.

From there, the hawk flew a block north where it tried out the cross of St Brigid's church. This is a favorite spot for hawk parents, Christo and Amelia.

Fledgling hawk at St Brigid's Church.

Over on Avenue A and East 11th Street, one of the fledglings discovered a rooftop fence, but two territorial Mockingbirds did not tolerate the hawk's visit.

Fledgling hawk mobbed by two mockingbirds.

Back over on East 8th Street, one of the youngsters found a nice windowsill on which to rest in the sweltering summer heat.

Fledgling hawk on a window sill.

Anybody home?!

Fledgling hawk on a window sill.

The hawk laid down on the sill - it looked to me like there may have been some pooled water there, so maybe the ledge felt cool.

Fledgling hawk on a window sill.

After resting on the window, the hawk hopped over to an adjacent fire escape and let its wings hang out, which is something the birds do to stay cool in the heat.

Fledgling hawk on a fire escape.

Fledgling hawk on a fire escape.

Fledgling hawk on a fire escape.

Stretching:

Fledgling hawk on a fire escape.

As evening set in, the hawk flew off and returned to the park.

Fledgling hawk flies past a window.

On a recent morning, I found one of the hawks on the main lawn playing with what I thought was some plastic trash.

Fledgling hawk playing with eyeglasses.

A closer look revealed the trash to be a pair of eyeglasses!

Fledgling hawk playing with eyeglasses.

Although the young hawks are becoming more independent, they still act like kids, often crying for food when ever they see their parents flying around. Below, one of the fledglings returns to the nest and cries. Before the hawks could fly well, Christo and Amelia would drop food at the nest for the youngsters to retrieve, but they have not been using the nest now for several weeks.

Fledgling hawk returns to the nest.

As previously noted here and here, the hawks have been using the park sprinklers to cool off during the recent heat wave. The hawk below tried out the mist at the Avenue A playground on a sweltering evening.

Fledgling hawk cools off in a sprinkler.

Fledgling hawk cools off in a sprinkler.

This video shows the hawk getting down in the water and almost toppling over while getting a good soak.


And in this one, the hawk sticks its face directly in the spray.


Finally, as seen at the end of the previous post, the fledglings have been enjoying the decorative rooftop fence of the landmarked building at Avenue B and East 8th Street. I've been seeing them go up there in the evenings just before sunset. The one pictured below has its wings slightly open to catch some of the breeze.

Fledgling hawk cools off on a rooftop perch.

Later, after the sun went down, the hawk flew across the street to St Brigid's church. The mosquitoes were feasting on me by this time, so I had to take my leave.

Fledgling hawk flies to teh cross at St Brigid's church after sunset..

More to come...

Friday, July 19, 2024

Tompkins Square hawk fledglings get better at catching prey

The three young red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square are quickly improving their hunting skills and are growing less reliant on mom and dad to provide them with food. They are also spending more time venturing outside the park.

Early on a recent sultry morning, I found one of them perched atop the cross of St Brigid's church on Avenue B.

Red-tail fledgling atop St Brigid's church.

It was quickly joined by one of its playful siblings who attempted to take over the perch.

Red-tail fledglings tussling at St Brigid's church.

The hawks have been playing games of "tag" where they chase each other around the park and nip or pounce on each other. On this morning, all three put on quite a show inside the park, but were so fast, I couldn't get more than one in a photo. This was kind of frustrating, but I just had to stand back and enjoy the spectacle.

These games are all practice for catching prey. However, the hawks don't just catch and kill everything they find. Below, one of the fledglings finds a carpenter bee crawling around on the pavement (the bee is in front of the hawk's leg, to the right).

Fledgling hawk investigates a caprenter bee in Tompkins Square.

The hawk watched the bee for a few minutes.

Fledgling hawk investigates a caprenter bee in Tompkins Square.

Getting a closer look:

Fledgling hawk investigates a caprenter bee in Tompkins Square.

The hawk even put its talons over the bee, but didn't hurt it.

Fledgling hawk investigates a caprenter bee in Tompkins Square.

What kind of creature are you?

Fledgling hawk investigates a caprenter bee in Tompkins Square.

In the end, the hawk got distracted by something else and left the bee alone.

Meanwhile, one of the other fledglings (below, right) caught a rat under a bush. The second fledgling then swooped in to see if it could mooch off its sibling.

Two of the Tompkins Square hawk fledglings hunt for breakfast in the bushes.

The first hawk would not share its breakfast, so the second hawk chased a rat around in the shrubbery before flying off to try its luck somewhere else.

With the competition gone, the first fledgling took the remnants of breakfast up to the fence railing.

Fledgling hawk brings its breakfast up to the rail.

Fledgling hawk with the remains of a rat.

Fledgling hawk with the remains of a rat.

After eating, it scanned the area around a garbage can.

Fledgling hawk in Tompkins Square.

Fledgling hawk in Tompkins Square.

All the young hawks love chasing squirrels, and the squirrels seem to love taunting the young predators. As far as I know, none of the fledglings have been able to catch one yet.

Fledgling hawk and a squirrel in Tompkins Square.

However, the hawks have been successful catching pigeons. Below, one of the hawks nabbed one right in the middle of a walkway.

Fledgling hawk catches a pigeon.

The other pigeons look on, but inexplicably don't fly away.

Fledgling hawk catches a pigeon.

The hawk was able to fly its prey to a nearby tree and eat it safely on a high branch.

One of the other fledglings dove into a bush in the SE quadrant of the park and pulled up a house sparrow. It's hard to see in the photo, but the sparrow is in the hawk's right talon.

Fledgling hawk catches a house sparrow.

Fledgling hawk with a house sparrow in its talons.

This hawk was also able to take the sparrow to a nearby tree to eat. They have had to learn to take their food to a high place to stay out of danger from people, dogs, bikes, and vehicles.

Fledgling hawk in Tompkins Square.

Across the street from St Brigid's is a decorative rooftop fence that the hawks seem to enjoy perching on at sunset before going off to roost for the night.

Bedtime for Tompkins Square red-tail fledgling.

If you're around the park looking for the hawks, it's worth checking the church crosses and surrounding rooftops. They naturally prefer high viewpoints, and are gradually moving their way up to higher and higher perches each day.

More to come...

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Mid-week hawk highlights

It's time for a few mid-week hawk highlights from Tompkins Square. Just when I think the fledgling activity might be slowing down, the young birds go and prove me wrong.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

The fledglings have been catching their own prey (pigeons, mice, rats, insects, worms) but are still being watched over by their parents. The one below scavenges a leftover pigeon, which you can see dangling over the side of the fence.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

After eating, it's time for a little exercise.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

This one looks a little scruffy as it just had a bath.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Another post-shower resting session:

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

Later in the evening, one of the fledglings settles down for the night.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledgling.

In years past, I was able to observe when the hawks (especially Christo) woke up each morning and went to roost at night. This year, for what ever reason, the hawk family has been active more hours in a day than I can I can handle. No matter how early I get up and go to the park, they are already out and about, and they continue to go about their business well after sunset. This generation is proving to be strong and full of stamina, which is really great to see.

More to come...