Friday, April 11, 2008

Out On A Limb--The Intrepid 79ers--Mai asks John Blakeman some questions.

Photographs by D. Browne
The Riverside formel sways in the breeze on a nest that is, there is no other way to say it, way out on a limb.

And as we've discussed before, not only is it out on a limb it is dangling above an access ramp to the highway. See the nest dangling between it's deciduous anchor and the evergreen?
Mom expells a pellet. The nest doesn't look quite so much like it is hanging out to dry from this angle because of the backdrop of branches but it's an illusion.
Frequent blog contributor Mai Stewert had a few questions about this nest and off they went to John Blakeman--

Hi John,

A couple questions --

Re the Riverside Park nest -- I've noticed in some of Lincoln's photos that the nest seems to be way far out on the branches, even on some not-very-large branches, and somewhat far from the trunk -- it seems almost to be suspended in space, almost at the end of the branches, which are neither as large nor as strong as those closer to the trunk.

(Lincoln Karim’s site is D.B.)

This can best be seen in Lincoln's photos of March 7, 13 & 16.

I've been wondering whether this nest might break the branches . . . and come tumbling to the ground? What do you think? Anyway do you think the RTs built the nest on this part of the branches, rather than closer to the trunk, on more sturdy branches?

Also, re the CPS pair, PMJ & Charlotte, I never understood why they abandoned their first (that we know of) nest, on Trump's bldg on Central Park South, which had worked so well for them (and us, as Lincoln was able to get great pix!). I liked Donna's posting after your comments on her website this morning, but nevertheless, their new nest location does seem a little weird.

Do you have any idea why they would have abandoned that first nest?

Thanks so much for all your contributions, and

With fingers xxxx'd for PM/Lola,


And John Blakeman's response--

The Riverside Park nest will not break the branches. It's no heavier than the snow and ice such a tree would encounter in a severe winter storm. The smallish branches holding up the nest will not break off, I'm certain. (I heat my house primarily with wood that I harvest, and am familiar with the strength of such limbs on trees.)

You asked the greater questions, "Why did the Riverside Park park pair elect to put their nest so far out on such meager limbs, and why did the pair now on 7th Ave choose that strange site, when things went better back at the Trump Parc ledge?"

I've seen these flimsey and poor-sited nests many times. In virtually every case they are by young, inexperienced birds. But the 7th Ave pair are now young adults, with several years' experience. They, I would think, ought to know better. But what do I know? I'm not a Red-tailed Hawk, a species whose thought patterns are so often an enigma. Just why the 7th Ave pair went to that totally atypical site is the strangest thing of all. Inexplicable.

Why did the Riverside pair build the nest so far out, away from the trunk? I just don't know why nests are built where they are. And I don't think the birds know much about this, either. At the start, in winter, when the first sticks are brought in for the initial nest building attempts, it appears that the birds often put sticks in various spots before finding a final one. Recall that the 927 pair actually put some sticks way up on the Beresford. That was not a new nesting attempt, and there was no intent to abandon 927 Fifth Ave. But in winter, the birds have an instinct to carry sticks around and place them in what they think might be likely nest sites.

I'd sure like to know what prompts the selection of the final nest location. Nests (at least out here in rural Ohio) seem always to be in usual and expected locations, either at the edge of a woodlot, in big tree in a meadow, or sometimes in the center of a woodlot. Red-tail nest sites have a typical "look." But why the birds gravitate to these areas is beyond my understanding. There is a high degree of randomness and chance, balanced by particular site features the birds tend to prefer.

So far, I've never been able to come up with any nest site formula, just generalities.

And yes, no one is wishing better for the 927 nest than I, inasmuch as I so strongly suggested all that was done so expensively there to rectify the nest cradle problems. Right now, everything is on the line. If the eggs don't hatch, I may have to slink away quietly.

--John Blakeman

Now time for my two cents worth--Why did Charlotte and Pale Male Junior move? Exactly what the cues were I don't know, but I do know that the Trump Parc nest failed far more often than it was successful. In fact we only know of it being successful once.
Without pigeon spikes to keep the twigs anchored, anytime there was any wind to speak of, much of the nest just blew away. Eventually with no bowl to hold them, the eggs would roll off the edge of the corbel. Year after year Charlotte stuck tight, getting drenched in rain and buffeted by wind. Junior diligently hunted, brought his mate food and sat the nest on Charlotte's breaks. They did the best they could but with the eggs blowing off the nest or sitting with Charlotte in a puddle of water every year, in the end there was never an eyass to show for all the sacrifice.
In 2005, the first season that Pale Male and Lola's nest failed after the latest destruction of the nest, we began to watch Charlotte and Junior. Not that you could really see much, just the switching of the parents on and off was all that was visible from the ground. Eventually they failed as well--yet again. And the Hawk Watchers began to disperse.
Then word came to Marie Winn, , from Veronica, who had a view from her apartment across the way, that Charlotte and Junior had returned to the nest. Marie called me to ask if I'd go take a look.
Had they double clutched?
I began to stake out the southern section of the park. Indeed, the Red-tails were going in and out of the nest on Trump Parc. It was late, very late in the season and besides they'd never managed a hatch up there before. Why torture ourselves? Was this just more failure waiting to happen?
Besides that, the experts felt that even if they were successful in having a hatch, there wasn't time to allow the eyasses to learn enough to be able to take care of themselves come winter.
We didn't care. We were going to watch anyway. Little Hill, near the southern wall of the park became the new Hawk Bench. Only without a bench, or a bathroom, or a restaurant.
We didn't care. We had hawks to watch.
That summer was a scorcher. There was a drought and Charlotte suffered up there with her dark feathers in the blazing sun but she sat. They did all the things they'd done before but this time...It worked. Big and Little hatched.
And to make a long story a little shorter and to save the adventures of Big and Little for another day, suffice it to say everything went swimmingly. They fledged, they grew fast and strong and yes, their parents trained them well and they did make it through their first winter. Hooray.
The next year, 2006, the Trump Parc nest failed again. I've always thought that the difference was the drought and lack of thunder storms, high winds, and drenching rain. Whatever the reason, after yet another failure following their first success (I think their first success anyway), Charlotte and Junior moved to 888 Seventh Avenue.
I think they moved because after their success, they were being cued somehow that something was wrong. There are supposed to be babies at the end of this process. Something clicked somewhere, hormonally or where ever and they had an urge to move.
They certainly picked a spot out of the wind and rain this time, though I'd not thought about it quite that way before. Does certain cuing change their order ranking of nest site criteria? Good question but no answer.
We'll just have to keep watching and see how it turns out.
Donegal Browne
P.S. Up tomorrow, some of the things that we in Central Park didn't know were going on around town when it came to Red-tails in 2005.

Blakeman on the 888 7th Avenue Nest

Photograph by Brett Odom
Charlotte coming off the 888 7th Avenue nest.
There were some questions concerning Charlotte and Pale Male Jr.'s behavior of late and below John Blakeman gives some answers and expresses his opinion on the situation---

About the curious happenings at the 7th Ave nest.

First, the greenhouse warmth that the glass windows might provide are not sufficient to keep the eggs (if there are any) at proper incubation temperatures, just above 100 degrees F.

It’s very possible that there are no eggs. This is one of the weirdest and most aberrant Red-tail nests in the world.

A few years ago, when I first learned of Pale Male and his nest at 927 5th Ave, I tried to dismiss it, presuming that it, too, was the result of some weird, psychotic individual hawk that didn’t know how life should be lived as an adult Red-tail. Well, I was proven very wrong on all of that.

Still, the 7th Ave pair has teetered, or flown over the edge of Red-tail normalcy in selecting this strangest and least likely of all nest sites. Pale Male at least looked out over 1.6 square miles of Central Park (I think that’s the size). It’s green over there, with trees to perch in, and rats and squirrels and pigeons to hunt. But what was in the mind of the 7th Ave pair in trying to nest amongst the densely urban hardscapes there?

A failure of this year’s nest could be expected. It has no trees, no turf, no prey; just bricks, asphalt, and concrete.

Just like human couples who try to finance a bigger-than-can-be-afforded house in a too-expensive neighborhood (hence the sub-prime banking problems), this pair has made a bad nest site selection. They were fortunate to bring off a single eyass last season. And it got into trouble when it fledged in this urban canyon.

Are the birds acting rationally? Not at all. But Red-tails can’t act in deliberate, pondered, and considered ways. They aren’t mammals, and they don’t have a cerebrum of any size. They just go through the instinct-driven routines of life. In this case, they’ve found themselves stuck with a strange nest site. (If they were humans, can you imagine the “discussions” the pair would have about who chose this nest site?) They will continue to go through all the nesting motions, but probably incompletely, with the behavioral inadequacies the recent observations describe.

With this pair, at this location, everything about nesting is happening, but poorly. It’s a crummy nest site, resulting in a cascade of errors and problems.

Is there anything good about this. As a biologist, when I’m thinking on a higher analytical plane, I determine that Red-tails aren’t going to stick themselves in such inadequate nesting territories unless most of the good ones elsewhere are already occupied. As bad as this nest site is, it indicates that most of the other good ones (at least from the hawks’ eyes) are occupied. This means that Red-tails are now everywhere. That’s the good news. If the nest fails to produce eyasses this year, I shall take no concern. Red-tails in NYC and elsewhere are thriving. That’s good. I can sleep with that.

–John Blakeman
I haven't as yet given up completely on Charlotte and Junior when it comes to nesting this season. Junior was the first Red-tail we ever discovered spending the night on a building perch instead of roosting in a tree like all the other urban Red-tails. He does a lot of hunting directly off the sidewalk blocks away from a green space. Pale Male Jr. is our most urban, urban Red-tail.
As Charlotte and Junior aren't afraid to try new things outside the Red-tail box, they are our Bohemian Red-tails. They give things a shot. They may not always work but they keep on trying. They have a territory full of prey and their challenge has been in finding a really good nesting site within that territory.
Remember in 2005, they second clutched very late in the season and many thought it could not possibly ever work. But they had a grand pair of eyasses who fledged successfully and made it through their first winter before we lost track of them.
Let's see if they take a break this year or come up with something exquisitely new.
As early Hawk Watcher Ben Cacace is prone to say, "Never underestimate a Red-tail!"
And these two have surprised us before--a number of times.
Donegal Browne

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pale Male and Lola, Peregrine Update, Plus the Odom Update on Charlotte and Junior from the 888 7th Ave. Nest, maybe.

1:36PM It's a beautiful day in Central Park. Temperatures in the 60's, sun with a few fluffy clouds, no wind to speak of--but at the moment there isn't even a wiggle on the nest. Pale Male isn't on any of his favorite easily viewed perches either. Though word from the Hawk Bench is that it's Lola who is on the nest.

There is a lovely sleek pair of Mallards on the Model Boat Pond. The hen sleeps while the drake keeps watch.

Still nothing in view but twigs.

2:29PM A pair of Canada Geese seem to have taken a liking to the Model Boat Pond.

3:02:07PM Aha! Here we go. Lola is doing something. There's the back of her head.

3:04:13PM Lola pops her head up for a look around.

3:12:36PM While Pale Male's away the Peregrines will play. A tiercel takes over one of Pale Male and Lola's favorite perches-the railing on Stovepipe.
I just noticed the bird feces on the rail. We've been wanting a sample of Pale Male's DNA for ages and feces is often a way to get DNA. Unfortunately, Dr. Charles Preston told me that feces is a great way to get DNA for Ruffed Grouse, for instance, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work for raptors. (Sigh.)
3:27:48PM Lola starts to rise out of the bowl and stretches.
3:27:57PM Lola turned toward 927, head down over bowl.
3:28:07PM Lola turned to building, head down.
3:29:08 Lola's head disappears, rear of nest.
3:29:46PM Lola settles back into the bowl and disappears.
3:34:50 Pale Male lands on the nest with prey, probably a prepared squirrel. Lola picks it up and she's off the nest.
3:35:00 Pale Male watches Lola fly off with her meal over the Boat House and into the Ramble where she has a favorite eating tree.
3:35:10PM His pale head and white breast blazing in the Spring sunshine, Pale Male looks into the bowl of the nest.
3:35PM He disappears into the nest for what I tend to assume is his afternoon nap in the sun.
3:45PM Exit to check the Cathedral nest. (Next post down.)

I'm busted! Many thanks for the following correction from Raptor Man John Blakeman--

An "oops" in your peregrine story. There can be no peregrine "formel," only a peregrine "falcon." Strictly, there can be a tiercel peregrine, a male, and falcon peregrine, a female. The ancient term "formel" can apply only to hawk and eagle females, never to a peregrine female, which, in the strictest terms, is the "falcon."

Yes, in more modern times, the term "falcon" has been applied to an enter family of raptors, the Falconidae, which of course includes peregrines, prairie falcons, gyrfalcons, and host of others. But originally "falcon" referred only to the female of a falcon species.

In cattle, there are bulls (uncastrated males), steers (castrated males), cows (females that have borne calves), heifers (females that haven't yet borne calves), and several other specific age and sex designations. The perception or linguistic representation of animals in early times was much more complicated than with the simplistic systems used today. Raptors had their own specifications, ones we still wrestle with today, sometimes formally.

Sincerely,John A. Blakeman

Also thank you John, for the clarification of heifer and cow. I hear both words used in Wisconsin frequently and was never sure what the difference was.
Charlotte and Pale Male Jr. Update from Brett Odom--
(But first--Dear Readers, This pair is so late, nearly two weeks past last years incubation start, and have been visiting 888 so infrequently that Brett and I had begun to wonder if perhaps they had an alternative nest site that we weren't aware of as yet. D.B.)

OK. I'm in one of our conference rooms that over looks the Park and I see a hawk soaring over Junior and Charlotte's territory. I stay to watch it to see if it ever lands someplace (perhaps an unknown third nest site).

Well, the hawk takes off for the 7th Avenue nest. I run to my office and look through the scope. It's Junior. He walks behind the glass and a hidden Charlotte gets off the nest and flies off. Junior stays, sitting on the edge for about a minute and then flies off also.

I'd say incubation had started, except, I'm not really sure how long Charlotte was behind the glass. I checked this morning with the scope, but it was too overcast to see behind the glass.

Was she there all morning, or did she just show up right before Junior when I wasn't looking?

Also, if incubation had started, why then did Junior only stay for a minute at the nest after Charlotte left and then take off after her, leaving the nest unattended?

Is it possible that the glass acts like a greenhouse, keeping the egg(s) at the right temperature and they know this and can leave the nest unattended for longer periods of time?

Seems strange, but I guess it's possible.

At least they are still visiting this nest. So if it is just that they are late in the incubation process this season, they should be using this site.

I need one bright shiny morning so I can tell for sure if someone is incubating when I arrive at work.

Brett B. Odom
Brett, I hope by tomorrow that John Blakeman may have some answers for us. And I also hope we get some sun tomorrow, though it's raining quite hard right now. D.B.
And The Peregrine Update from veteran Peregrine watcher, Eileen of NY--
Dear Donna,

Although I live in Ulster County, my "home" nest is actually the Rochester NY pair on the Kodak building, Mariah & Kaver. For wonderful watching & reading , please visit their site

The history section has some interesting info and the section called Imprints has journal entries starting last spring that will actually answer many of the questions regarding PEFA's and their behavior.

The nests in the Netherlands have some interesting stories as well. The forum I follow to keep up with them, as I mentioned, is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Falcon cam forum at although it takes a bit more digging and tracking to follow their stories.

At another nest (Gemert) last year there was a battle that ousted the resident female after the eggs had started to hatch. Only 2 eyases survived, but only through the efforts of the tiercel.

I look forward to answering any other questions you may have.

All the best,
Dear Eileen,
Many thanks for the links and you can bet we'll take advantage of your invitation to answer our questions.
Donegal Browne

Isolde and Norman the Pig Boy

4:52PM I've already been looking at this for twenty minutes without taking a photo. After spending so much time at the Fifth Avenue nest I'm down to my fourth and last Nikon battery, when I think I see a full head pop up for just a second and then nothing. I begin to think I must have been hallucinating. When I'd first arrived, I thought sure I could see just the tip of her tail and felt very relieved. Then I realized on focusing that what I was looking at wasn't a tail tip at all but rather a twig. It happens sometimes.

4:56PM Did a twig just move several inches---on it's own? Wind? Hawk?
5:06PM I can see her in the photograph but I didn't see her head at the time. She was putting her head up for only a few seconds and then quickly disappearing. Rob Schmunk arrives. Which is lovely. One of the perks of watching hawks that keep the same nest site is that Rob and I haven't seen each other since probably last July but here we are again, standing on the corner catching up, and waiting for the hawks. It gives the feeling, if not the reality, that at least some things are stable in live.

5:24PM Finally after an hour I can safely say she's still up there. That's a relief.

6:32PM Another hour has gone by. No food or break.

6:45PM Still looking. Still waiting.

6:56PM By now James has arrived. And it's grand to see him as well. We also haven't seen each other since last season. For a rundown on how Norman got his name on a street corner go to Rob's site--

7:01 PM There hasn't been a sign of this guy since before 4:30. (No, it's not a great photo but it shows nicely what I'm about to talk about. Wait and see.) He shows up without a meal for Isolde and he has a crop bulging like an overfed eyass? At that moment it was a good thing that he'd already been named otherwise it might well have turned out to be Pig Boy had it been up to me.
Though here he does look like a Norman. Whatever he looks like, Isolde has had it. (Good thing it wasn't Charlotte, she might well have snatched him bald headed.) Isolde has truly been very patient but undoubtedly she is very hungry. She comes off the nest, and heads for the Plant Pavilion, Norman follows. They circle once.

7 12 PM Isolde takes off in search of food and Norman takes to the nest. I hope she leaves him there all night. He needs to learn a few rules. Like, you don't stuff yourself until your mate , who has been stuck on the nest for hours if not all day, has been fed.

How many times have I seen Pale Male eating Lola's leftovers? And often the leavings were little more than a bunch of soggy feathers and bones. But then Pale Male has had lots more practice in what keeps mates happy and healthy, now hasn't he? It will be interesting to see how Isolde teaches Young Norman nesting etiquette.

We three, wait around until nearly 8PM, but Isolde doesn't return and Norman doesn't pop his head up. Will he sleep on the nest tonight?
Next UP: Pale Male and Lola, a Peregrine Update, Plum Brook Station Eagles from Blakeman, all on tap and coming soon.

Donegal Browne

Isolde IS still brooding--MUCH MORE TO COME!

April 8, 2008, Isolde is still sticking tight!
More on the Cathedral Nest, the new guy is given a name on the street corner, James, Rob, Pale Male and Lola!

Monday, April 07, 2008

UPDATE: Battle of Peregrine Nesting Box and Dad Peter Gets Points

Photograph of the Buffalo, NY, Peregrine Falcon nest box, Mom, and last season's eyasses, courtesy of
Here is a wonderful update on the Peregrine formel who was protecting her eggs and nest box from a female intruder, sent in by Eileen of NY.


I'm copying this to you from a Dutch woman named Nora posting on the CMNH Falcon Forum:

"Jan van Dijk searched the archived images and reported on the Dutch forum (I translated the message for you):

April 6

Till 17:20 all is well; Mariken incubates.

At 17:24 a young female appears on the ledge (she has been seen before in the last couple of weeks). She almost comes in the box, but Mariken keeps on incubating. (Mariken only puts up her feathers)

At 17:34 an unknown adult female comes straight in the box and fights with Mariken. This battle continues for about 8 minutes, and both females step out on the ledge now and again.

From 17:42 till 18:38 the intruding female (leg bands from Germany?) checks the box and shuffles the eggs.

At 18:49 Mariken returns. She rolls the eggs back into the nest cup and incubates till 19:41.

At 19:41 Peter takes over egg-duty and incubates till the next morning April 7, 10:15!!!

On April 7, at 10:15 Mariken takes over incubating and all seems quiet and well.

The question is, did Mariken (and maybe together with Peter) chase off the intruding adult female between 18:38 and 19:41?

Anyway, Mariken must have been pretty upset, not returning to the box for the night.
Peter did extraordinary well last night: it was freezing and that stunning male incubated 14 hours on end without changing position!

Let's hope all eggs are intact and that intruding female won't return."

I've been watching these nests for several years (vicariously, of course). There are other nest boxes in the region and most of the birds winter-over rather than migrate.

In other territory battles I've seen, the tiercel will often avoid "on the ground" fighting with a falcon, most likely as he'd lose being so much smaller. Tiercels seem to limit their defense to the air, often tag-teaming with the bonded falcon, both putting up a vigorous fight.




Thank you so much for sending the update. This is wonderful.

We've often discussed whether Red-tailed Hawk tiercel's ever spend the night sitting the eggs and so far we've never had a strict confirmation that they do. But here we see that Peregrine tiercels do most definitely sit overnight. Peter gets many points for brooding in below freezing temperatures while putting in a full 14 hours worth of nest time.

Does Peter feed the eyasses as well? We've found that some Red-tailed males do and others don't. It seems to depend on exactly how the domestic chores have been worked out between the individuals in the bonded pair.

Donegal Browne

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Female Peregrines Battle Over Nest Box

Peregrine Falcon
Photograph Courtesy of The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Frequent blog contributor Karen Anne Kolling, sent in some questions about a Peregrine battle she witnessed on line.

Froona, who has a web site that aggregates web cams of peregrines from various places, reported a territorial battle in Nijmegen in which an invading female tried to displace a female who was incubating four eggs.

The resident female was successful. The male apparently just stood around and did zip.

That must have been terrifying for the resident female, I know they fight to the death, plus she had eggs to protect. The eggs were scattered at the end of the video. I hope they are okay.

Is it usual for a female peregrine to actually displace an incubating one? I had only heard of this before laying eggs started, usually when one of a pair had not returned from migrating yet. Apparently the intruding female returned a second time, and was also defeated.

Might she give up then? With Pale Male and Lola, they seem to cooperate to drive off intruders?

(They do cooperate but there are definite differences in how that manifests itself. Depending, I think on the category of Red-tail intruder.

Sometimes only one of them will take on an intruder. Sometimes the “ushering out” is a kind of gentle herding, other times it can become quite hostile.

Then there are the occasions when Pale Male will be ushering an unwelcome visitor out of the territory and Lola will take off from the nest like a flaming Valkyrie, leaving the eggs as she shoots away to light a fire under the visitor in a major way.

Usually in these instances though, within a few minutes, Pale Male will have come round and will stand on the nest looking extremely tough while raking his talons across the twigs of the nest.

I don’t have a definitive explanation but I think that the intruder may be a female Red-tail when Lola gets that energized.

Pale Male absolutely would not stand by while another bird scattered the eggs. Or at least he’s never shown any behavior that suggested he would—ever. D.B.)

Froona's blog is at

(Karen finds the original link. It's posted further down. D.B)

And here is John Blakeman’s extremely interesting response.


I don't know Peregrines as well as I do Red-tails. But here's my take on this.

For some reason, the intruding female intruded. She had to have had some reason to do this, and some sort of previous attachment with the territory was almost surely a factor, probably the only one. The bird may have been at the territory last fall, or even in some winter or migration past, at a time when the territory wasn't being well defended. This time, the bird came back when the resident had eggs. As I would have expected, the resident mother was able to drive off the intruder.

The inaction of the tiercel is, I think, definitive. Had this been an utterly foreign, unknown intruder, the tiercel would have driven her off with the intensity that the female did. But I think the intruder exhibited "I live here and own this territory" behaviors, which the male read and therefore didn't react. As humans, we can't so well read these nuanced animal behaviors, but the hawks can. For some reason, the intruder thought that she "had rights" and could enter. The male respected her display and presumption of such rights. The sitting female, of course, would not recognize this intruder's sense of territorial rights.

And as happens in virtually every case like this, the real resident wins. The intruder saw the intensity of the sitting female's defense and finally retreated.

As you may know, there are many cases where one of these battles leads to a death, either to an aged, less athletic resident, or to a too-intrusive new intruder.

All of this is more pronounced with the falcons, as they become particularly attached to aeries, ledge nest sites. We think that the falcons are actually more "mated" to the nest site and territory than they are to each other. It's a long, convoluted set of circumstances, which I won't detail here, but it's best not to try to think of or understand or explain these territorial battles in simplistic terms. The behaviors are very complex, and very non-mammalian.

Sincerely,John A. Blakeman

Wait there’s more... a response from Karen

Hi, John,

I had just found the original webcam site
and there does appear to be a history of intrusion.

If you click on the English version, it says:"The nesting box was placed in 1995. From 1997 through 2002 there were successful hatches with 16 fledglings. In 2003 and 2004, several hatching attempts failed because of females rivalling for a place to nest inside the nesting box." I can't tell if the resident female from 1995-2008 is one bird.

Too bad they cannot put up a second box sufficiently far away but still within noticing range of the "intruder" bird.

Regards, Karen
Karen, I’m with you. It sounds like more boxes could be worth a try.
Who knows? Even though the second female may be bonded to the site, maybe, just maybe, after enough battles she might be willing to settle for a second box. Unless of course, the tiercel in question is the only male currently around.

Donegal Browne

Pale Male and Lola, Blakeman I.D., 79th St. nest vs the road, and urban Robins

Eleanor Tauber took this photo of an acciptor in Central Park which I published previously and asked if anyone would like to take a stab at an I.D. John Blakeman took the bait and here is his email with some very helpful tips on the differences between a Cooper's Hawk and a Sharp-shinned.

The accipiter is almost surely a Cooper's Hawk. I make this designation from the very long, discernible neck the bird has. Sharp-shinned hawks seem to have their heads compressed down into the shoulder, with no neck.

I'd like to see the eyes of the bird. Sharpie's seem to look like they just stuck their toes in an electrical outlet. The eyes look big and bug-eyed, even startled.

There is one trait here that leans toward a Sharpie. The thickness of the tarsus, the leg above the foot, is rather thin. From this, I'm guessing that it's a tiercel (the smaller sex) Cooper's.

--John Blakeman

Gail Randolph asked for a photograph showing the position of the Intrepid 79th St. Hawks nest in relation to the road. Here you go, Gail. Can you find the nest?

Walking along the sidewalk past an apartment buildings, I noticed this Robin's nest. It's in a small tree that is growing outside a building with no lawn. And as we all know, Robin's are very dependent on lawns for food. In this small space between the sidewalk and the building there is only a small tree and a few bushes, without any grass at all. Robin's having successfully increased in population due to human yards have now moved to the completely urban--almost.

Down the street is Central Park. The Robins have to fly a little further for provender for the young but I expect that this nest is less likely to be predated by Crows as pedestrians are constantly walking past than it would be if located in the park.

Raptor biologist, Dr. Charles Preston, makes a visit to the Hawk Bench to see Pale Male and Lola's nest.

Lola flies past Shipshape.

Then past the Carlyle Hotel.

And once again takes over the nest from Pale Male who has been spelling her during her break.
In a week or so we should know whether or not there will be a hatch for these two. Are your fingers still crossed?
Donegal Browne