Thursday, December 04, 2008

Houston Red-tail Nest Report, Snow, Crows, and Tracks in Trees.

March, 2008-Isolde on the nest at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine with scaffolding.

A report came in today from Lower Eastside Hawkwatcher Jose--


I have not seen the Lower East Side Red Tail Hawks for a while and I have been looking for them all over the Lower East Side. The old nest on PS 188 has been totally covered over with scaffolding for the construction workers who are performing reconstruction work on the outside of that school so I doubt that the hawks will be using that nest again.

I read on your blog that Mr. Portmann has seen a pair of Red Tail Hawks flying around the East Village so they must be the same ones that I observed and I guess they are not the same Red Tail Hawks that we were watching back in May and June of this year. Well I will keep my eyes open for them and will let you know if I spot them.
Happy Holidays.

Hi Jose,

Thank you for the update!

Francois told me that the Red-tails that he has been seeing saw are far enough away that they would likely be in a different territory from the the hawks we were watching earlier in the year in your neighborhood. Neither of the birds that Francois has been seeing is banded so don't give up on the possibility that the Houston Mom is still in control of her territory. I found that that area isn’t an easy place to spot hawks as well.

Have you checked the park along the river in the early morning when she might be there hunting rats?

How much scaffolding is over the school nest? Would it keep the parents from flying in and out of the nest?

Is the scaffolding at the school more constricting than the scaffolding in the photo above?

Last season, Isolde and Norman had scaffolding above, below and on both sides of their nest up at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at 113th st. and they used the nest anyway. It was a rather bad situation as the workman kept disturbing the nest by getting too close to it. Isolde would then swoop at them, and sometimes stay off the nest for worrying amounts of time. The pair did manage to fledge two young.

If the territory is used this season, perhaps the scaffolding is a blessing in disguise and the parents will find a more fledge friendly spot for their nest. Perhaps another building nest, but also they might try their luck in a tree in the park. The plantings there would give the fledglings more branching opportunities so they could get up off the ground to where they’d be safer.

Thanks again,


The first three days of this week have brought nearly a foot of snow. Foraging tactics have changed.

Little Goldfinch sits in the lee of the bird feeder to find shelter from the snow storm

Samantha my daughter decided to make the traditional green been casserole with the french fried onions on the top that is always being advertised right before Thanksgiving on TV. She made a lot. As a little experiment I put it outside to see if Crows had a taste for greens beans and mushroom soup. To my surprise, five Crows showed up to work on it, attempting to out gobble each other for the lion's share. though it wasn't easy as it was frozen.
Okay, here is another of those--Hey, why-didn't-I-notice-that-before moments.
The squirrels can leave very clear tracks when they climb snow covered trunks of trees.

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