Saturday, April 19, 2008

Redtail review with a new PS

Female sitting at the Highbridge nest - April 17, 2008
Photo by Bruce Yolton -- Http://

No news yet on the Fifth Avenue nest, but the day is young. Meanwhile Robert B. Schmunk has sent in a detailed report on some of the other Red-tailed Hawk nests in the vicinity:


About the other red-tailed hawk nests in Manhattan and when egg hatching might be expected:

The Cathedral nest should not see a hatch until after April 26 and possibly not until the first of May. The female, Isolde, did not start to brood until some time between March 26 and 30. Although this seems late, it believe it is typical of the nest, as the dates were about the same last year, and first fledge last year and the year before were one same date. I suspect the shady, cool location at the Cathedral delays egg-laying there until the days are a little warmer. It probably didn't help that this year there was a last minute change of resident male hawk.

The nests at Houston St. , Riverside Park, Highbridge Park, and Inwood Park, all had females reported brooding before the Cathedral. Without doublechecking others' blogs (i.e., Bruce and Lincoln's websites), I think all four of them had mothers reported brooding 7-10 days before the Cathedral nest. Consequently, for all four of these, I think the hatching window could open any day now. I'll note that both at Highbridge and Inwood, feeding behavior or an actual nestling was observed last year on April 20.

Bruce [Yolton] checked on Highbridge yesterday but did not see any signs of a hatch yet. [See photo above]

I lost track of Seventh Ave., but as best I recall, Charlotte had not yet been reported as being on the nest at the time brooding began at the Cathedral. So start of May for Seventh Ave.?

And as for the new nest at CCNY, it's a real tough spot to observe. I never heard any reports at all about when the female there may have started brooding, so it's anyone's guess as to when there might be a hatch.

PS from Marie

A few hours later I received a report about the Fordham nest [Bronx] from Chris Lyons. Rose is the female of the Fordham pair:

I saw your latest blog article--Rose started sitting regularly on the nest at Collins Hall on March 20th. No sign of a hatch today--she's been at it maybe 29 days, but I can't confirm when she laid her first egg. Could have been the 21st, or later.

So I won't even start worrying until 4/25. I didn't see any feeding last year until 4/26 (Rose started around the same time last year), and actual eyasses didn't become visible for several days after that. However, we've got a better vantage point to watch the nest from this year, so it should be easier to tell. I probably won't check the nest again until Monday. I'll be bringing the scope.

There could have been a hatch by now--most of the Red-Tail nests in the city don't get the constant daylight observation that the ones in downtown Manhattan do.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tick tick tock

Nest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine --April 8, 2008
Courtesy of

[Note: The NYC Audubon contacted the Cathedral about the nest's location so near to the construction work going on there.--you can see the scaffolding in the photo. They have tried to avoid doing any work in the nest's vicinity during the nesting season.]

As far as I know, none of the other redtail pairs nesting in New York City have had a hatch yet. All of them are expecting soon. Hank Riley of New Bedford, MA had a good, comforting thought about that:

Dear Marie, With the PM clock still ticking, could you please bring us up to date on some of the other NYC hawk pairs: when they're expecting and if/when any young have arrived? Maybe they're all a little slow this year.r

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Recent spring migrants --photos by David Speiser

While the clock is ticking on the Fifth Avenue nest, the spring migration in Central Park begins to accelerate. Here are some great photos:

Great Egret -- April 15, 2008 [They've been showing up for the last few weeks]

Whip-poor-will, [The discovery of a sleeping whip-poor-will is always an exciting event in the Central Park birding community. This one was found on April 14th.

Sparrows--4 species--photographed on April 14th
Savannah Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

All photos by David Speiser: Http://

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pale Male and Lola -- tension grows

Pale Male and Lola on nest - April 15, 2008
courtesy of

As of yesterday Pale Male and Lola are still sitting. The hatching window is open -- it could happen any day. At the Hawk Bench yesterday photographer Rik Davis and I exchanged notes and decided that April 20th is the outside date for hatching. That gives us hope until Sunday.

Meanwhile, tension grows. A note received from regular correspondent Nan Holmes gives an idea of the mood:

Dear Marie,
I am trying to keep still but I find myself looking again and again at your website to see if chicks have hatched. I feel like a fidgety kid in church. I'll try to be patient but it is not my long suit. Hoping they come this year. We could all use some good news. I watched the film Pale Male last week just for the joy of it.