Sunday, May 28, 2006


Just as the Cathedral Pair take turns hunting and guarding the nest. I so observed the Peregrines of Riverside Church working together. Here the female patrolled the scrape, casting her ominous shadow over her domain! First she circled right...

and then left!


Morningside Park is a jewel in the rough. Forming an emereld sliver in the greenbelt that extends north from St. Nicholas Park to Jackie Robinson Park, then onto Highbridge Park and finally Inwood Hill, these stop-overs are vital links in the North Atlantic Flyway. As a result, many migrants can be seen making their way Uptown and Down during the migratory seasons. Here are some highlights I've encountered while the sometimes long pauses between hawks.

Parallel Lives

Armed with the knowledge gleaned from watching the Cathedral Pair--that, and the 100-400mm L that Bruce leant me--I decided to revisit other nesting raptors to see if it applied. My first stop was back uptown. Overlooking Jackie Robinson Park, I spotted the male RTH atop one of those project garbage disposal screens that Hawks seem to love so much.

Nearby was the male kestrel and he started out directly for the Hawk.

However, in a weird parallel, two police officers were exiting onto the roof, just below!

Live free or Die!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Divine Heights

Over the course of one week, my knowledge about the Cathedral Pair has increased dramatically. Important pieces are starting to fit together to reveal a complex and intricate high-wire act that is enacted every day. From their perch on St. John's, these hawks have an incredible vantage point to survey their territory and seek out prey. Working in unison, one hawk maintains watch over the nest area while the other goes about hunting, their main prey consisting of other young birds raided from nests.

Here the female stands guard from a concealed nearby perch.

After a successful hunt, the male returns to the nest with food and leaves it for the female and the young.

Inside the nest, the chicks are growing rapidly from this macabre bounty!

Here the begining of his rufous breast feathers are begining to show.

And their practice flying is becoming more and more energetic.

After dropping off the snack, the male resumed his hunt. I tracked him to the Meer where these grackles knew exactly what he was up to!

Surprisingly, their concerted attack drove the hawk west, over towards the Great Hill. After a spirited jog, I managed to pick up his trail on 103rd and Manhattan Ave. where he was perched atop the projects, scoping out the vast pigeon flocks there. The resident male kestrel must've seen him as well because he immediately began dive bombing the hawk!

This was also successful in driving the hawk off! He then returned to Morningside Heights.

As I ran up Manhattan Ave, for a moment I thought I saw the hawk again high over the park!

I began to realize that this was no hawk, rather some type of eagle. From the coloration, I suspected a Golden Eagle but upon further analysis, it appears to be a juvenile Bald Eagle!

The male then called to the female who flew off the nest joined him!

I guess he needed a little quality time!

She then went out to hunt while the male stood guard over Central Park North. She returned to the nest promptly with more food for the young!