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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Other NYC Red-tailed Hawk updates

Here's an update from Chris Lyons. He has been observing Red-tailed Hawks in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. "Pale Male" and "Lola" aren't the only one's taking advantage of the abundant sources of food in the city:

"Subject: Red-tails on Broadway!
From: Christopher Lyons
Date: 3/4/05 1:49 PM

No news from the Fordham nesting site yet--the nesting pair are still in the area, and were seen copulating a few days back, so hopefully incubation will start in a few weeks.

My report today is from Manhattan. I was on my way to work this morning, when while standing at the corner of 156th St. and Broadway, I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk zoom past with what seemed to be a pigeon in its talons. It was pursued by a few starlings, and landed nearby, in a tree planted on a median strip in the middle of Broadway, right across from the Audubon Terrace (John James Audubon himself is buried about a block from where the hawk was perched). I had a pair of binoculars with me, and was able to confirm that it did indeed have a pigeon.

I've been seeing what I assume (perhaps incorrectly) to be this same bird day after day around this neighborhood. I often spy a Red-Tailed Hawk hunting overhead as I head for the subway. There's a small "pigeon park" at 157th & Broadway, just a concrete triangle with some bushes and benches, where people put out food for pigeons. They probably don't realize that they have also been inadvertently feeding raptors.

It was a young bird, brown tail, bright yellow eyes, but I do find myself wondering if Red-Tails will nest in the neighborhood in the near future, or if they already are nesting there. There really aren't any potential nesting areas we can rule out anymore, are there? (g)"

The following is from Barry Freed. He has been observing a nesting pair of red-tails near the Bronx, as well as, a pair of Peregrine Falcons. Here is an excerpt from his recent report:

"Subject: Neighborhood Raptors
From: The Freeds
Date: 2/26/05 7:23 PM

This morning, the nest used by Red-tailed Hawks for the past several years in Inwood Hill Park looked just as derelict as it has on our previous visits. We had heard reports for some time that only one adult bird was around. A more hopeful sign, though, was the appearance, last week, of two RTH adults over our building (very nearly one mile north of the Hill). Since we usually assume that the hawks we often see in our neighborhood are from IHP, this led us to hope that the purportedly lone bird had found a mate.

While I studied the nest (from our lookout next to the Nature Center, on the north side of the inlet), Rita, with 10X optics, quickly spotted a hawk perched on the Hill (south side of the inlet). Once one knew where to look, the bird could be seen with the unaided eye, its light chest and belly gleaming in the sunlight. It was a couple hundred feet east of the nest and farther uphill. After enduring this static situation for a while, we spotted another RTH flying in along the Hill from the east. The undersides of this hawk, both wings and body, seemed unusually light. It flew directly at the perched hawk and, voila!, we now knew that the perched bird was a female and the recent arrival, a male. Copulation occurred almost exactly at noon. After perching together for a while, they took off one at a time and wound up on . . . the nest! They performed a brief inspection, then one bird left and one remained for a time. I had been trying to get my scope aimed at the nest while both birds were there but by the time I had the nest in view, both were gone.

Later, a hawk appeared back on the original perch. Later still, the one became two. This time, we were able to get good long looks at the pair with 72 power and share this view with others, including one of the Park Rangers. As seen from the back, standing side-by-side, with their heads in profile, these hawks seemed as alike as two peas in a pod. There was no discernible size difference. Both had relatively dark heads and backs but with large areas of white on the back, perhaps a bit more on one than the other. The most noticeable difference was that one had a much thicker and darker subterminal tail band than the other. When they split up again, one was back on the nest, rearranging twigs. At last!

Barry Freed
Bronx, NY"


db said...

Great site! Very innovative approach to wildlife conservation!

Posted you at The Evangelical Ecologist.Cheers,

Joe said...

I wrote in several days ago to report a sighting of a red-tailed hawk in Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan. Today, I can confirm a sighting of a peregrine falcon in the same location. It is possible that I earlier mistook the falcon for a hawk. However, I think it still is possible that we have a hawk, too. Regardless, I can confirm the falcon sighting as it landed on the air conditioning unit outside my window!

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