hawks

Tompkins Square Drama

An update to this blog posting, 8:30 April 4: Dora was picked up in Tompkins Square Park today, April 4, and returned to rehab at WINORR. There is a possibility Christo already has a new female in the nest, for he was seen mating with another female hawk while Dora was in the car. There is concern that if Christo and the new female have eggs and bond over them, Dora will be forced out if she is returned to the park.

When Dora, the resident female red-tailed hawk in Tompkins Square Park, went to rehab at WINORR in November for a wing injury, Christo seemed a bit lost, not knowing where she was. He eventually took up with another adult female and was courting her and mating with her. Dora returned to the park after rehab at the end of February, and after a rocky start, she regained her nest and her mate, and they have been mating regularly and building the nest. For a fantastic history of the drama, see Laura Goggin's blog.

I visited the park on March 24 to check out the pair, and then visited again on April 2. When we arrived on the 2nd, Dora had just been in a fight with another adult red-tailed hawk (apparently not the female Christo had been mating with, nor Christo himself, but a new hawk who had been in the nest). Dora won the fight, but seemed very shocky afterward. We saw her on a low branch near the dog run, and we watched as Christo came in to mate with her, and then as she flew in short bursts from tree to tree before going into the nest. She mated at least two more times, and Christo fed her.

Christo on top of Dora, mating, Tompkins Square Park, April 2

Christo on top of Dora, mating, Tompkins Square Park, April 2

The Chasing the Hawks video shows the pair on March 24 and April 2. To skip to April 2 to see Dora and her behavior after the fight, go to minute 6:37.

These photos were taken on March 24.

Dora on the nest, March 24

Dora on the nest, March 24

Christo, March 24, Tompkins Square Park

Christo, March 24, Tompkins Square Park

Dora on April 2, showing her wonky wing.

Seeing Red

On my walk through Central Park on March 13, I spotted a lot of red! At the feeders, there were house finches sporting red feathers. Near Swampy Pin Oak, I was feeding about 15 cardinals. Then near Maintenance Meadow we spotted what we believe to be a juvenile red-shouldered hawk (it could also be a juvenile Cooper's hawk, but then my headline wouldn't work). Near Rustic Shelter, a red-bellied woodpecker was pecking away. Then we stopped by the Hawk Bench to watch Octavia, a red-tailed hawk and Pale Male's mate, standing on the nest.

You want a yellow cardinal! Check out my yellow! And my red! I ates me cranberries!

You want a yellow cardinal! Check out my yellow! And my red! I ates me cranberries!

I still haven't done my northern cardinal Filming the Feathers video, but it will happen! I have so much video to process. Meanwhile, here are a couple of cardinals I saw on my Central Park jaunt.

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Cardinal 1500 3-13-2018 008P.jpg

The house finches at the feeders are really showing off their red feathers!

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House Finch 1500 3-13-2018 006P.jpg
Red-bellied woodpecker near Rustic Shelter in Central Park

Red-bellied woodpecker near Rustic Shelter in Central Park

We think this youngster is a red-shouldered hawk. The bird has been hanging around the Ramble for at least a week, probably longer. The kid behaves more like a red-shouldered hawk than a Cooper's hawk, hunting squirrels and rats more than birds. But I've checked field guides and searched photos, and I can't swear to the ID here.

On my way to visit Woody (who has red eyes, but it was too dark to photograph my buddy), I stopped by to see Octavia, Pale Male's mate. The beautiful female red-tailed hawk we hope will have more babies to chase later this year.

Octavia on the nest

Octavia on the nest

Winter Red-Tails

Chasing red-tailed hawks has been tremendous fun so far in 2018, since the trees are bare and the hawks are easier to spot. The newest video series featuring the hawks is called Winter Red-Tails, and so far four videos have been created to celebrate these raptors. (It was also fun chasing them in December, which you can see in Ho! Ho! Hawks!!!)

Juvenile red-tailed hawk, Central Park, January 17

Juvenile red-tailed hawk, Central Park, January 17

The four videos cover January 18 through February 21, 2018, and were taken in Central Park, at Stateline Lookout, on Staten Island and near the Harlem Piers. Some contain graphic hawk dining, so be prepared.

These are some of the photos taken during the days spent chasing the hawks. For more, visit the Red-Tailed Hawks page, as well as the Red-Tailed Hawks: Fred and Ginger page.

Juvenile red-tailed hawk, Stateline Lookout, January 18

Juvenile red-tailed hawk, Stateline Lookout, January 18

Juvenile red-tailed hawk, Cherry Hill, Central Park, January 20

Juvenile red-tailed hawk, Cherry Hill, Central Park, January 20

Juvenile red-tailed hawk with pigeon, near Falconer statue, February 1

Juvenile red-tailed hawk with pigeon, near Falconer statue, February 1

Fred (left) and Ginger (right), Central Park, February 21

Fred (left) and Ginger (right), Central Park, February 21

Ginger, February 21

Ginger, February 21

Fred, February 20

Fred, February 20

Juvenile red-tailed hawk in rain, Cherry Hill, February 16

Juvenile red-tailed hawk in rain, Cherry Hill, February 16

Adult visiting red-tail near Reservoir, February 18

Adult visiting red-tail near Reservoir, February 18