Tuesday, May 09, 2006

(Part 1)
Pale Male Junior and Charlotte

160 Central Park South*

The Essex House is the pale building photo center with, yes, the red ESSEX sign on top. Though the hawks have been known to sit on various corners and rooftops of The Essex House, the sign is a huge favorite.

They frequently perch on the top outside edge of both the X and the first E. Seats with a grand panoramic view which includes the nest. It's perfect for prey sussing, hunting, keeping an eye peeled for unwanted visiters, or catching some sun. Junior has even been seen, sneakily sitting on the middle bar in the shadows below the ESSEX and above the HOUSE in the sign. With such good views, and depending on light, wind, and weather, the Red-tails have been known to perch just about anywhere on the sign that can give their feet purchase.

Just to the left of The Essex House, east towards Fifth Avenue, is The Hampshire House. It's the structure with the green roof and double chimneys. The east chimney, the one to the left, ordinarily gets more visits than the chimney to the right and west.

Though both hawks often use the east chimney, last season as the eyasses became larger and the afternoons sweltering, Charlotte in particular would fly up to that chimney, and sit in a patch of shade created by metal hoods attached to the masonry. Being a dark hawk she does absorb a good bit of solar energy and spent hour upon hour once the young hatched, panting and mantling her 2005 progeny, Little and Big on the nest. A multi-purpose perch, beyond having a cooler spot, the chimney had an excellent view of the nest and her babies. Plus, if an interloper did appear near the nest, her elevated position above it gave her a decided advantage over opponents.

During the same time period and to keep everyone guessing, Charlotte was also partial to a mini-roof over a window, just a touch lower down on the west side of the building.

As late as last week Charlotte spent some of her break time off the nest, sitting on the roof on the south side, near the west corner, just above where the roof meets the masonry.

Junior too, puts the east chimney to good use. Particularly interesting to me was his positioning on May 5th of this year. After a lengthy bout of skydancing with Charlotte and then madly and repeatedly swooping over the nest, Junior plunked himself down on the top of the chimney in a manner I would have found quite unhawk-like had I not seen him do it. In fact, at first I thought he might be injured in some way. He was lying partially on his right side with his left talon, "palm up",lying back under him, peeking out of his fluff feathers. Still reasonably alert considering his posture, he was nonetheless taking a breather.

More to come, including perches on the AOL Building, Columbus Circle, and the CNN sign.

*Central Park South is the portion of
59th St. between 5th Avenue and
Columbus Circle.

Where is Columbus Circle? It's where Broadway crosses
Eighth Avenue on the diagonal. But as soon as Eighth Avenue reaches the corner of Central Park it becomes Central Park West.

Who said the New York City street grid was easy?

No comments: