Screen capture courtesy of  NYC Audubon and
As many of you know, Mama and Papa of the NYC Audubon Hawk Cam are in danger due to many bait boxes of rat poison in their territory.  Their chief watcher for many years, Jeff Kollbrunner,  sent me an email with a new strategy he hopes will make a difference for them.
 Hi Donna,

Hope all is well with you!

Our Red-tailed Hawk eyasses are getting big and are in their sixth week of age. I wanted to let you know that I now have a Facebook Page I can also be followed at Twitter @JKNatureGallery.
 I have posted my recent work with New York State Senator Tony Avella regarding the Rodenticide issues locally in Briarwood in Mama and Papa's territory on my Facebook Page. I also explained to Senator Avella in detail the recent deaths of the four Red-tailed Hawks as non-target species in Manhattan a short while back caused by Rodenticide poisoning. Senator Avella is working with me starting with the Briarwood issues at the New York State Department of Transportation as they are in charge of the Expressway expansion project locally. My initial recommendation is to suspend and remove the Rodenticide through the breeding/fledging season of March through the end of August since this can be accomplished relatively quickly if agreed upon. If deemed necessary to continue a rat control program after this time frame to utilize snap traps as an alternative.
 If successful implementing this strategy locally we can use this procedure as a precedent for the five Boroughs in known Bird of Prey territories where Rodenticide is being utilized. More on this topic can be read on my Facebook Page and I hope to be posting Senator Avella's letter shortly. I also hope to have more to report as an update to this effort as soon as we get the reply to his inquiry on the subject.

Best, Jeff

 Photo courtesy of    
The Cathedral Nest of St. John the Divine

And from Sally of Kentucky--

Hi Donna,
I was talking to some folks on the Franklin Institute chat and we were musing about how long it would be before the eyasses fledge. Then I was wondering if urban eyasses on ledge-type nests rather than trees fledge the same time or earlier or later than their tree-raised counterparts?  I was wondering if the various watchers might have data on that?  According to Lincoln's data on his page through 2006 it took 44-52 days for Pale Male's to fledge, though we don't know an exact hatch date on those.  I am going to see what data I might be able to find about the Tulsa KJRH TV tower hawks. I wonder if the watchers from Fordham, Triborough, Cathedral, etc., have data they could share?  I find it interesting.


 Hi Sally,

I find the topic fascinating myself.

I'll see what I can find out.

That said, yes, most urban eyasses appear to  fledge earlier than their rural counterparts, or perhaps more specifically  in a less flighted stage of development.  Is it just lack of branching opportunities?  The often small area they grow up on? And of course we really don't know when most of them hatched to the exact day.

  (Though one of Pale Male's early eyasses just didn't want to make the leap and stayed on for many days later than usual.  PM had to resort to flying past with food and not dropping it off to get him to finally fledge.)

Most urban fledglings as you know, are just flat grounded when they first come off the nest unless they can branch up.  I thought this to be the case with rural young as well. Rather like fledgling Robins who tend to spend a couple of days hiding out in cover after they leave the nest.  Not necessarily so.

The nest on
County M fledglings had that big oak to branch around in before coming off the nest.  They got loads of short flight practice going from branch to branch.  When I finally did see them come off, they flew to a nearby treeline and  then flew back.  A flight that did not include having to gain any altitude.  Gaining altitude is a big problem for urban fledglings who come off the nest and land on the ground.  But the M fledglings may have been off the nest days earlier as there were few eyes watching so I can't swear the time I saw them come off was their first trip.

Here is my take, on reliable data.  For most of the urban nests, the only data that is completely reliable to the day, will be the urban hawk cam nests as we absolutely know when the eggs hatched. :) 

There are lots of eyes at
Fifth Ave.  but it will still likely be a day or two off before feeding behavior was reliably nailed down.  Same for the Cathedral Nest, etc.

Then there is the Fordham nest, which has easy access to trees not many feet from the nest and on the same plane.  No increase in altitude necessary. Actually, it is nearly impossible to tell whether when you see them come off if that is actually the first time they've been off the nest because they can go back and forth so easily.

Therefore as I said, the cams will have more precise day counts, though we'll see what the chief watchers have to say as well.

More to come...

 The nestling Robins, May 18th.  Yes there are actually four of them, not three as I thought originally.  It appears that the angle and not wanting to get too close, contrived to give me a mis-count.
The fab foursome two days later on May 20th.  I must say, songbird chicks are almost magical in their ability to grow!  Things are getting very crowded and when I took their photo, big guy there in the back, hopped out of the nest to one of the branches.  He then returned but it won't be long before he's trotting around the yard behind Dad learning  the great art of earth worm procurement.
Mom wasn't in the least amused that I was pointing a camera at her brood, though I was done in 26 seconds.  Not the feathers sticking up on the top of her head.

Interestingly earlier in the day a friend and I had been attempting to dislodge two  five gallon pails that had nested together so tightly we couldn't get them apart.  We put the bucket edge on the step and wrangled them until they came loose.  All this razzmatazz took place a foot or so from the nest bush.  Mom watched but she didn't scold.  Only when the nest has eyes, or interestingly, a camera focused on it does she go into scold mode. 


I have belatedly discovered that there is a third red-tailed hawk nestcam
in the city, and since no one else has mentioned it here, I thought I'd pass
word along.

The nest is located in the Bronx on an office building air conditioner on
Melrose Ave. right just barely off the intersection with 149th St. and Third
Ave. There's a subway entrance just across the street.

The URL is
You'll have to put up with a 10-15 second commercial  when you first
load the page.

Checking on it minutes ago for the very first time, I caught the mother doing a very late (8:30 p.m.) feeding with two good sized nestlings. If I understand an article in the Daily News correctly, they hatched about April 14. 
Local birdwatchers believe that the adults are the same pair
who nested on the Bronx Hall of Justice last year.


Donegal Browne