Friday, June 15, 2007

All The Divines Do It! The Cathedral Nest is Empty But the Roofs Aren't!

Photograph and report by Rob Schmunk of
As of today, all three red-tail hawk babies from the Cathedral of St.John the Divine have fledged. And true to hawk nature, one kid managed to do something amazing and unexpected.

Bruce and I both arrived around 5:40-5:45, and saw that the nest was empty. Bruce had seen one of the parents circling about, and Immediately spotted a fledgling on a window railing on the 7th floor of St. Luke's overlooking 113th St.. A few minutes later, from one of the good nest viewing spots on Morningside Drive, I also noticed another fledgling in one of the "usual spots" from last year, directly behind the cross on the roof of St. Savior chapel.Those two fledglings were not the interesting ones. They stayed pretty much put for the next two hours plus.

It wasn't until just after 7:00, after Bruce had left (I presume for another nest location) and so had falcon watcher Liz, that the third fledgling was spotted. Back over on 113th St., two infrequent bird/hawk watchers whom I had just spoken pointed out that there was hawk on the rooftop finial directly above the statue of St. Matthew(one right of St. Andrew). I figured it was Isolde, who had been up Gabriel's horn just a few minutes earlier but had disappeared.
Tawny breast feathers revealed that it was the missing fledgling.To the best of my knowledge, neither of last year's fledglings got up on the roof of the Cathedral until around June 15. This one apparently did it first day. Applause, please.

Anyway, a minute later she fluttered down to the crenellation son the turret above St. Andrew and the nest. She stayed there half hour or so, then switched over to the turret directly above St. Peter (one left).Between 7:05 and 7:20 there was also interesting activity from the parents, with Tristan flying over to the hospital window with food, _not_ giving it to the fledgling, and then flying over to the top of an air conditioner. Isolde also joined Tristan on the air conditioner for a moment. Maybe they left food for the fledgling, but if so she never went to get it.

I didn't see if there was a food delivery to the one on St. Savior chapel.Both Tristan and Isolde made separate visits to the nest in this 15 minutes. Why? Heckifiknow. I was guessing that they might be leaving food for the fledge perched 15-20 feet above,but again if so, she didn't go down to collect.

Come 8:00, Tristan's on the hospital roof, Isolde's on a cathedral finial directly above St. Peter and occasionally getting buzzed by a kestrel, one fledgling is on the crenellation above St. Pete, a second fledge is on top of the cross on St. Savior chapel, and the last fledgling is still at the hospital window.Seems like time to leave, but literally as I'm starting to walk up113th St., the fledgling above St. Pete jumped and soared over the parking lost and into a tree directly above my head, a distance of about 275 feet. I of course saw none of it, although Dottie and a couple people retrieving cars from the lot saw it all.I only believed that she was up there after the parking lot guard showed me where her white feathery posterior was moving about in the foliage.

rbs-- Robert B. Schmunk

Having been busy sorting out the NYC hawk situation, I'd not looked at the Robin's nest for awhile. And when I did...oh dear! Whatever happened to the nestlings. Did the Cooper's Hawk, raid the nest? Certainly I would have heard the mobbing birds wouldn't I?
Perhaps instead of panicking I should just look around. Makes sense.

Ah, and what's this? A resident adult hiding behind a tomato plant and staring at me as opposed to going about it's business like usual. Is there a fledge it's keeping an eye on somewhere?

Gone. My, when you really look at them tomato plants are rather fantastical and bizarre.
Okay where did the Robin go?

Nope. That's Little Bit preening in the garden. Amazing what the light and shadow does to the color of his feathers. He's looking quite blue and purple. By the way, he is actually a he. Yesterday I saw just the beginnings of iridescence on his neck. Iridescence being the way to sex Mourning Doves. The females don't have any.
So where's the Robin?

Ah, there he, NO, they are.

A chick flightless and fresh off the nest learning his first lessons in food gathering.

There he goes into the Sunset, with Dad in hot pursuit.
Later today, I saw one of the adult Robins collecting dried grass for their third nest of the season. And there is a newly discovered Cardinal's nest...

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber
This one to me is the Grackle Magician. Look at those eyes. Talk about drama!
Which we have had a good bit of lately, now haven't we?
By the way, I have it on good authority that the Central Park Coyote was not in the care of a rehabber when it died. Bobby Horvath, who had rehabbed it previously and is now caring for the Ziegfield Follies 888 Fledgling, was not responsible for it's death.

Donegal Browne

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