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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hawk Update

I paid a short visit to Green-Wood Cemetery yesterday to check on Big Mama & Junior's nest. In past years they've been on eggs around this time.

About a month ago I discovered a new vantage point to view the nest. Ocean Hill runs along a high point on the terminal moraine and, when standing next to "S. Philips", I realized that I could practically see into the nest from about 250 yards away. Yesterday I returned to that spot just in time to see Junior landing at the edge of the nest. Big Mama, who had been sitting on the nest, stood up to switch places with her smaller mate. After a few moments, she flew off. I was fiddling with my camera when I noticed something moving in the tree to my right. It was her and I couldn't help wondering if she saw me on the hillside and came over to say hello...or at least to check me out. I quickly swing the camera around and took a few shots. She was ridiculously close, but a few twigs obscured what could have been a nice portrait.

Observing an exchange at the nest is a sign that there are eggs present. Between Marge, Joe and myself, I think we've been pretty vigilant about checking to see if they've begun incubating. This was the first time we've seen them at the nest so let's do a little math using March 18th as a starting date. According to "The Birder's Handbook", they incubate the eggs for 30-35 days. That takes us to April 17-22, when there would be signs of chicks in the nest. After that, the offspring take 45-46 days until they fledge. That means that the last week of May we'll be seeing some very serious flap-hopping and the first week of June the offspring will make their maiden flight.

I didn't have time to check on the Prospect Park nests, but will have an update on those two pairs of hawks tomorrow.

1 comment:

Thing said...

Looking forward to updates on these!

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