Saturday, May 21, 2011

Excitement reaches Ohio

Redtail chicks, April 2002 --- Courtesy of

John Blakeman, our Ohio redtail expert, sent a brief message yesterday upon hearing of the probable hatch at Pale Male's nest:

I'm excited about the 927 hatch. The reason(s) for all the failures from the time the man-made nest structure went up will never be known. . Draftiness could have been a major problem at the start. But in retrospect, there should have been hatchings in the last year or two, when the nest was clearly large enough to keep the eggs warm enough.

It seems clear now that the problem was with Lola. For unknown reasons, all of her eggs in recent years may have been infertile. But the exact reasons will never be known.

But most clearly, The Man, Pale Male himself, is yet fertile. He's apparently sired another brood of eyasses at 927 Fifth Avenue.. The excitement begins once again, just as it has for the first time down at NYU with the eyass there.

Conclusive Evidence

New Mom on nest== 5/19/11
photo courtesy of

An e-mail from Kentaurian, a friend from the old days at the Hawk Bench, removes all doubt: there are chicks in the nest!
Kentaurian writes:

We have good news - today, Friday 20 May 2011, the female Red Tailed Hawk at 74th & Fifth Avenue was seen feeding something inside the nest at three separate times from 4:30pm to 7:00pm and moving stashed food from the "north" side of the nest to the "south" side before one of those feedings. Between feedings, she continued brooding deep in the nest and mostly out of sight. Some of the witnesses beside myself were Margrit, Katherine, Stella and Samantha (aka Sam) along with several visitors to NYC who were passing by. While I was the last to leave, I saw Pale Male deliver fresh food to the nest at 7:30pm and place it on the "north" rim. The female lifted her head during the delivery but soon hunkered back down inside the nest.

John Blakeman assesses the past and present situation at the Fifth Ave. nest

PS We won't be able to see any sign of the white fluffy chicks for at least a week or ten days. For now they are hidden in the depths of the large nest.They need to grow and be able to raise their heads to look out at the world. We can only follow the parents' behavior for now as they bring food to the nest and feed the chicks.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Report from Hawk Bench

Two chicks in Fifth Avenue nest--May 2003
Photo courtesy of

[Please note the year the above photo was taken. It's only a Preview of Coming Attractions, we hope.]

Report from Hawk Bench -- 5:00 to 7:00pm:

I raced down to the Model-boat Pond just after Rik Davis's call and the quick posting of Rik's news on this site.

Between 5 and 6:30 or so I saw Pale Male's mate -- maybe we can start calling her Mom ---stand up in the nest several times and then make feeding motions directed at something deep in the nest. The small group [including a crew from ABC News] at the Hawk Bench reported that Pale Male had delivered a rat to the nest earlier that afternoon . Now the old Paterfamilias was sitting on an antenna atop the "Oreo Building" around 79th Street, with one of Rik's telescopes trained on him. The other scope was focused on the nest.

At around 6:30 pm "Mom" settled lower down on whatever there was in the nest -- a chick, or eggs or both-- and that was it for the day.

The evidence is not yet conclusive. But it still appears that at least one chick has hatched in the nest at 927 Fifth Ave.
More tomorrow,


It hasn't been positively confirmed yet, but it looks like the miracle has finally happened:

A hatch at Pale Male's nest!!!!!

I'm heading down there now. More later.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Raccoon moving day at the Point

Ardith Bondi, one of Central Park's regular nature photographers, had a "moving" experience in the Ramble last week. It happened at that little promontory up the hill from the Boathouse known as The Point. Ardith gave me permission to share this remarkable event with my readers. Here's the story, told in 12 pictures and captions, all by Ardith:

1. First there was just fur showing through the opening. Then the raccoon began moving around.

2. Shortly, mom's head poked up through another opening about three feet above the slot in the trunk.

3. Just after mom's head, a much smaller raccoon face appeared from the upper tree entrance.

4. Then I realized that mom was bringing her pup out of the tree.

5.They began their descent from the tree. Mom carried the pup in her mouth.

6. Mom easing out the pup.

7. Down they came, the pup hanging from mom's mouth.

8. Further descent...

9. Once they reached the ground mom trotted off, carrying her pup.

10. Mom carrying her pup.

11.Mom moving right along with her pup still in her mouth.

12. Mom continuing with her pup. They finally disappeared into a hole under some rocks.

12 photos and captions by ARDITH BONDI
taken in Central Park on April 18, 2011

PS The NY Times, that knows a good thing when they see one, published Ardith's photos and captions on May 18 on their City Room blog. You can find it here:

for more of Ardith's photos: