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!