Chasing the Hawks in Central Park

Fred and Ginger, Still Trying

The red-tailed hawk pair that hangs out between 72nd Street and 96th Street on the west side of Central Park — known to many hawk watchers as Fred and Ginger — have been trying to breed for several years, but have been unsuccessful. A nest they tried to build on a building on Central Park West around 92nd Street was taken down by a maintenance worker about four years ago, and another nest they tried to build on the Beresford building failed to produce eyasses. Last year, the pair tried to brood on the San Remo building, but Ginger's egg rolled off the ledge.

Ginger and Fred in the Ramble, April 17, 2017

Ginger and Fred in the Ramble, April 17, 2017

This year the pair built a partial nest on West 81st Street, and last week Ginger spent a day on those branches, raising hopes that the pair was finally brooding. But apparently it was a false alarm, because both hawks have been hunting and eating in the Ramble recently, and not sitting on the nest.

Yesterday (April 17), Ginger was spotted in the Ramble in the afternoon eating a meal, probably brought to her by Fred. After she finished her dinner, Fred came to her branch, and the pair mated again. I document nature, so here's the video.

It may be too late for a successful nest, but these two hawks are such a joy to watch that we are encouraged that they keep trying. These shots are of the pair, and then Ginger as she eats and then preens after mating.

Ready for the Closeups

We had the great joy on March 1 of watching a first-year red-tailed hawk for a couple of hours fly around, perch on low branches, run around on the ground attacking bark and missing squirrels, then finally fly to a hole in a tree and grab a squirrel. The youngster then ate the squirrel on the ground, before flying out of the Ramble. I was able to get a lot of video and some really nice closeup photos.

First-winter red-tailed hawk, the Ramble, March 1, 2017

First-winter red-tailed hawk, the Ramble, March 1, 2017

I call the video Squirrel Hunt. There is some graphic hawk-dining footage here, so be advised.

Lots and lots of photos. Enjoy!

This is a magnificent bird, and I kept telling anyone who would listen that day, "I live for this!" With all the news about assaults on the environment and elimination of protections for wildlife, I offer these photos and videos as a reminder of what can be lost if we aren't vigilant and willing to fight for these gifts to our lives.

Snow Hawks

The final chapter in the Hawky New Year! series ends with red-tailed and Cooper's hawks in a snowstorm. On blizzard days I head out with my walker (verticality assistance device) and feed the birds and look for hawks. Two red-tailed hawks were flying around the feeder area, and a Cooper's hawk was hanging out in the snow over the Oven. Part 10 shows hawks on Jan. 30, which was a very sunny day, and Jan 31, the day of the storm.

First-year red-tailed hawk, Jan. 30, 2017

First-year red-tailed hawk, Jan. 30, 2017

First-year red-tailed hawk, Jan. 31, 2017

First-year red-tailed hawk, Jan. 31, 2017

Part 10 of the Hawky New Year! video series is the final video in that series, although the Chasing the Hawks in Central Park series will continue, including the hawks I've seen so far in February. Right now the adult hawks are nest-building and mating and chasing out the little youngsters from their territories. Yesterday I saw one first-year hawk, but today I didn't see any (I did see a Cooper's hawk).

The Cooper's hawk was literally chilling on the snow day.

The photos below are of the young red-tailed hawks on Jan. 30 and 31.