Thursday, June 25, 2009

Urban Red-tailed Hawk Update-NYC

Photo by Donegal Browne
The Unisphere in Queens.

For some years now a Red-tailed Hawk pair has nested on the Unisphere. It isn't terrific for branching and also note that there is a rather wide circle of concrete below it which isn't as soft as it might be for landing. Therefore most years the Horvaths end up caring for some or all of the fledglings from the nest. Either because they might be injured from coming down on the hard surface or because they end up trotting around in the open area without cover or adequate flight skills amongst lots of people and lots of dogs.

And here we are at release day for two of the 2009 Unisphere fledglings. That's rehabber Bobby Horvath on the left and I believe, hawkwatcher Peter Richter, on the right.

Photos from rehabber Bobby Horvath

An email from Peter Richter, hawkwatcher in Queens, Unisphere Nest
Hello All,
Bobby and Cathy Horvath were able to successfully release the first two Unisphere fledglings this morning at around 11:45 A.M.
The third fledgling watched the whole event from atop the Queens Museum of Art where his parents fed him this morning. The third fledglings seems to be the best of the three in the air, as I saw him make it from the top of the museum across to the Unisphere nonstop. I stayed with the released fledglings till about 4 P.M. They hopped around from branch to branch high up in a patch of Maple trees, as they withstood a barrage of abuse from numerous Blue jays, Grackles, and Robins(surprisingly no Mockingbirds). One of the parents returned to the Unisphere at around 2:30 to feed the third fledgling its second meal of the day and the two returned fledglings began to call for their parents shortly after.

The other parent was spotted atop the Pavilion but did not get close enough to hear the fledglings call. At around 3:15 the parent on the Unisphere went to investigate the calls, and it circled directly over the fledglings head several times before disappearing behind the Pavilion. At this point I was satisfied that at least one parent had recognized that their offspring has returned, and that they will be fed soon. I will continue to watch this nest as best as I can and report back on the three fledglings progress. Thanks again to Bobby and Cathy for caring for and saving these great birds.

From long time watcher of the nest of Athena and Atlas, Jules Corkery--
June 21, 2009

Hi All
Triborough Baby 1 - with the Horvaths. Thanks you guys!
Triborough Baby 2 - found and is located north across the street from nest in small trees and well hidden.
Parks staff know where he is and have been checking on him. Have not seen parent feed him and not sure if he is taking food on the tree since the tree branches are very flexible but he is not calling out or in distress and looks fed. Stopped a local resident from poking him with an umbrella yesterday.Explained the bird was a baby and this seemed to satisfy him. His english isn't very good and I don't speak his language unfortunately. His name is Tony and he's from Croatia where when he was a boy they had large hawks/eagles (not sure what) that would take chickens. Think he was trying to tell me that Baby 2 had been stuck in his yard unable to get back into the trees or onto the fence. There is a grape arbor that he might not have been able to negotiate. Tony said he came out to drive it off. I told him that the parents will feed him and as soon as he is able baby 2 will follow his parents (and food source) into the park. This seemed to make sense to him. Nice guy.
Triborough Baby 3 - came off the nest Saturday 6/20 in late afternoon and landed in the london planes that are right in front of the nest. He had a very full crop and was quite content. Both parents were watching him and trying to guide him north. He instead decided to fly over 21st Street onto a very narrow ledge of one of the bridge's I - beams above 21st Street.
The parents brought food to him trying to convince him that there were better places to be. He wasn't having it. He didn't know how to takeoff in a place where he could only lift one wing at a time. He rested there through some of the heavier rain and was able to stretch a little. He even might have dozed off perched with his face against the side of the steel beam because when a truck passed underneath he jumped a little with the noise. A while later he suddenly took off and got himself onto the next I - beam. He stayed there and when we left he was still there. At that point it was dark and we knew the parents knew where he was. We knew he was flapping his wings and not just gliding and the evening park supervisor knew his location. This morning, I'm happy to report that he is once again content and sitting atop a mulberry tree between the tennis courts and the bridge. He is closer to 21st Street than we'd like but the tree has lots of branches that are bent over and he is able to jump around and nap.Athena's position on the light pole behind the tennis courts has her triangulated with her two offspring so that she can watch both. Atlas is nearby watching as well. Such good parents.
Jules and Robert

Later in the day…
Well, don't that beat all! Little Triborugh Bridge Nest Baby 3 got himself back into the nest this afternoon just in time for dinner. In 24 hours off the nest he's a pretty impressive flyer. Athena was very close to where Baby 2 was last seen so we are pretty confident she knows where he is and are guessing that she is focusing her attention on getting him into a safer and higher perching spot.The rain continues to be an advantage keeping people and dogs to a minimum.Will update as soon as we know more.
Jules and Robert.

June 23, 2009
Hi All

Triborough Baby #3 is back in the nest and this morning he was eating a pigeon and looking all hawk as he would tear pieces and then scan the sky.
Triborough Baby #2 - we didn't seem him this morning. The parents weren't around and there were no upset jays, mockingbirds, or starlings to reveal his whereabouts. Will have a longer amount of time tonight to look for him. Will report more later.

June 23, 2009
From Glenn Phillips of NYCAudubon

I think we've found Baby #2. Just got a call that it's on a roof top at 19th street, Astoria, . If it needs help, you can call Debbie, it's on her grandmother's roof. (Her grandma is scared of it, but I assured her there was no cause to be alarmed.
And for something completely different from Jackie Dover of Tulsa--
Hi, Donegal--
I ran across this YouTube video of Bald Eagles enjoying the water on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The video is by Tony Markle, Nanoose Bay, BC
Best wishes,
Jackie Dover
Tulsa Hawk Forum
And goodness knows what tomorrow may bring!
Donegal Browne

P.S. Next post down, with a County Rd. M nest and Hawkeye/ Rose Nest update, also went up today so check to make sure you've seen it.


Karen Anne said...

The post about the Riverside baby dying seems to have been lost, or I just can't find it, so I am putting this comment here.

Lincoln has on his website the information that, contrary to what the Urban Park Rangers promised about delivering the fledgling's body to Dr. Ward Stone for testing for toxins, the baby was instead "disposed" of.

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Karen,

Let me see what I can find out about the situation.