Friday, June 14, 2024

This week in hawks - June 14

Time moves quickly for the Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk fledglings. They've spent the last week getting their bearings in the treetops and are getting stronger and more confident with their flying.

June 5: One of the fledglings chills in a tree.


One of the other fledgling stretches - note the two prominent brown spots on its chest. This is a useful field mark for identification.




This is the same fledgling as shown in the top photo above. Note the pale stripe down the edge of one of its central tail feathers. This can also be a useful ID.


More exploring the tree branches:


This fledgling's chest spots appear in two curved vertical rows on its left (our right) side. This pattern differs from the hawk in the second photo.


June 8: The chest spots on this fledgling do not match the other two, so I believe this is the third sibling. It's difficult to tell them apart in person, but the older two seem to stick together most often while the youngest is on its own. This is not always the case, though.


June 11: Two of the fledglings return to the nest for rest and sometimes food.



One of them plays around with a stick in the nest.





Meanwhile, their sibling is perched in the tree on the central lawn.



The fledglings command all the attention, so let's not forget their parents, Amelia and Christo, who are staying very close to their offspring, feeding them and keeping them safe.

Amelia:

Amelia

Amelia

Christo on his flag pole, looking very serious:

Christo

The fledglings will continue to familiarize themselves with their environment and the parents will provide them with food until they can learn to hunt on their own. 
 
Stay tuned.


Monday, June 10, 2024

Tompkins Square hawklets are out and about

All three Tompkins Square hawk chicks are out of the nest now, exploring the surrounding tree tops. As they get their bearings and learn to navigate trees, they'll progressively expand their territory. For now, the whole family is sticking close together.

Below are some pre- and post- fledge highlights from the last few days.

May 28:  The youngest chick still shows a lot of white downy feathers on their face as they contemplate the world beyond the nest.

Tompkins Square red-tailed hawk nestling.

June 3:  A day after its older siblings flew the roost, the youngest nestling hangs out with mom, Amelia.

Amelia with one of her chicks.

One of the fledglings returns to the nest and shows off its large wings.

Amelia with two of her chicks.

The younger sibling seems to study the actions of the older one.

Practicing some wingercizing.

Later in the day, the youngest is looking more serious about taking that first flight.

Tompkins Square hawk chick #3.

Tompkins Square hawk chick #3 branching.

Meanwhile, one of the fledglings (left) perches on a nearby branch with mom.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling with mom Amelia.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling.

This fledgling still has a patches of fuzzy down around its eyes and above its beak.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

At the end of this day, the youngest is still up in the nest tree.

Tompkins Square hawk nestling #3.

June 4:  The following day, dad Christo brings a small rat to one of the fledglings who is perched high in a tree.

Christo with a rat.

First meal delivered, he quickly catches a second meal (pigeon) and takes it to a tree.

Christo with a pigeon.

He calls to Amelia to let her know the second course is ready.

Christo sounds the dinner bell.

Amelia quickly flies over and takes the pigeon from him. She plucks and prepares it before delivering it to the two other youngsters who are waiting in the nest (one fledgling flew back there for food).

Amelia takes the pigeon from Christo.

The fledgling high in the tree remains in place for a couple of hours.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

Just before sunset, it decides to make a move.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

This was my first time getting a good look at any of the fledglings flying.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

Note there are still a few feathers in the wings that need to grow. Despite this, the fledgling flew successfully from one tree to another.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

Tompkins Square hawk fledgling #2.

Over the next few weeks, the young hawks will learn to fly and hunt in the park. Look out for them and be sure to give them space, especially if they come to the ground. They are just going about their business, exploring their new world.