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Friday, May 11, 2007

Big Mama's chicks, Thursday, May 10th

Unlike yesterday’s disappointment, today’s experience at Green-Wood Cemetery was delightful.

I had been contacted by filmmaker Frederic Lilien regarding a follow-up project to his award-winning, “Pale Male”. He wanted to shoot some footage of Big Mama on the nest and talk to me about her history in Brooklyn. We arranged to meet at 4PM as the sun, at that point in the day, would be illuminating the nest.

When we met an overcast sky had just cleared and he crossed his fingers that it would remain that way. He had brought along Lincoln Karim to shoot some stills and addition video footage. Lincoln has a great website with dozens of photographs of resident Red-tailed Hawks from all over the city.

We weren’t disappointed. Big Mama was at the nest when we arrived and, after a short wait, the chicks began to stir. The older of the two was very active and watched us from the edge of the nest. We saw Junior soaring over the area several times but he never returned to the nest when we were present. Big Mama has a partially eaten bird of some type stashed at the bottom of the nest. She fed her two offspring from the carcass then flew off to eat some by herself. It was a fairly small bird, perhaps a robin. We were so focused on the hawks that it wasn’t until 6:55PM that I realized the cemetery closes and locks its gates at 7PM.

Mother and child (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Big Mama eating dinner (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Frederic and Lincoln had a lot of gear to pack up, plus it’s a relatively long walk to the main entrance (especially when one is carrying 50 pounds of equipment). The gates were already locked when we tried to leave. Fortunately, we only had to wait a few minutes before a security patrol arrived and let us out. I think Big Mama and Junior are the only nesting Red-tailed Hawks in NYC who have their own security force.


Dope On The Slope said...

Incredible pics as usual.

Keep up the good work sir!

Pamela said...

bwaaaahaaa haahaa
that chick is so darn funny looking it is cute!!!!!

Aisin Biya said...

That half eaten small bird might have been a quaker parrot. There's a large colony of quakers at Greenwood Cemetary. When Brooklyn Parrot Society founder, Steve Baldwin (, took my particular group of parrot watchers to Greenwood in December, we saw Big Mama hunting the quakers several times in the course of two or three hours. Not much nestbuilding was done by the quakers that day! So look for green feathers! If you see green, you're looking at a parrot!

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