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Monday, March 22, 2021

A New Cemetery Couple

At first I thought that Green-Wood Cemetery's resident pair of Red-tailed Hawks were exploring rentals on the opposite side of the cemetery from their usual digs. They seemed to be eyeing the large conifers behind Horace Greeley. That's where Bald Eagle "Rover" frequently dines. Then, about two weeks ago the red-tails began nest building at that spot.

There is a towering tuliptree nearby that the amorous couple has been using for their construction material. I got a few shots of one of the hawks snapping off a sizable branch for the nest. While watching with a couple of friends we noticed that one of the birds was banded! A blue band is on one leg, a silver on the other.
The blue one really stands out, so I'm pretty sure I would have noticed it before. This individual is also distinctive for its very dark, thick belly band. Also new to me. I checked Evan Rabeck's Flickr page to see if he had any photos of the cemetery nest builders. He has photos of a different pair perched side by side. Neither is banded.
It has been about a decade, but we have seen two pairs of Red-tailed Hawks nest in Green-Wood Cemetery. One year there were three nesting pairs in adjacent Prospect Park! I guess it is a sign that there is enough food to support a relatively large community of local raptors. If you'd like to check out the new nest, there is a really good view from the hill at the south-east side of the intersection of Oak and Hillock Avenues.

I look forward to seeing fledgling hawks perched on the head of Horace Greeley sometime in the near future.

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