Sunday, June 15, 2008

URBAN HAWK ALERT: Two Come Off The Cathedral Nest--Stella's Report

Photograph by Stella Hamilton

While the rest of the Hawk Watchers seem to have been otherwise involved, multi-year watcher of Pale Male and Lola's nest, Stella Hamilton and friend Clare, were in the right place at the right time. Here is her report.

Dear Donna,
Oh what a wonderful day at the St. John the Divine Cathedral. Claire and I were not expecting any fledge today, but 2 actually occurred.

I arrived at Morningside Drive at 4pm. It was quiet, nothing unusual was happening. In fact, the hawks were nowhere to be found. No one to be seen at the nest at all.

At approximately. 4:30pm , Baby 1 stands up, preens on St. Andy's shoulder, while Baby 2 sits next to 1. On Gabriel's horn sits Mom or Dad, when suddenly, a trio of kestrels show up and begin an attack on the adult who is sitting on the horn. The attack lasted for about 10 minutes.

Adult hawk and Kestrels exit toward Morningside Park .

When all was quiet, Baby 1 rises and sits on St. Andy's head. He looks around, and flaps a couple of times . Then at approximately 4:47pm-- OMG!!! HE'S FLYING !!! He flew seemingly toward the Park, but circled back toward the London Plane tree in the corner of 113th and Morningside, where he sat for a very long time.

His first flight was effortless. We didn't even see him flap his wings once. It was so smooth.

After watching #1 for awhile, I began to worry about #2. I looked back at the nest and couldn't see #2. The nest just looked so empty.

At 5:30, I heard the shrieking of catbirds just south of the cathedral. I went to investigate, and WOW, there was #2 running back and forth on the stone wall just above the sidewalk of Morningside Drive.

(In this area, on the west side of the street, nest side, a squared embankment is faced with stone, creating a wall next to the sidewalk which reaches higher than head height. Atop this stone wall is eight feet of chain link fence. D.B.)

He began to climb up the wire fence with all his might. Climbing with his claws and flapping until he reached the top of the fence which was lined with barbed wire!!

OMG , he' gonna get cut. He climbed and he climbed and he got so tired that he hung upside down on the fence many times to rest.

Eventually, he just gave up, let go of the fence, and allowed himself to tumble back down to the stone wall, where he rested for a while.

When he was composed, he flew across the street to the park, and landed in a small tree just a few feet from the park's entrance. Safe and sound as was his nestmate.


Look back up and check out the belly band on that eyass. It is extremely heavy and those feet look pretty sturdy as well. Previous eyasses, the progeny of Isolde and Tristan, had far less belly band. They had more of a dark dot pattern surrounded on all sides by white. This eyass is darker by far. Stormin' Norman has contributed some darker genes to Isolde's more fair ones this time around.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring in the way of fledgling adventures at The Cathedral.

Donegal Browne

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