Monday, December 20, 2010

Hanging with the Horvaths

Got a chance to attend a hawk release over by the Queens Botannical Gardens. We released a total of 4 hawks, 3 of which were juvy redtailed hawks and 1 of which was this broadwinged hawk.

Next up were the three redtailed hawks.

We had a great time watching them all interact with their new environment and testing out their new freedom!

Special thanks to the Horvath's for their tireless work in fixing up these wayward birds till they have enough strength to make it on their own.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Soul Mate

Its a known fact that raptors mate for life. The peregrines at Broadway Bridge have been together for almost 10 years and in that time have sired numerous broods from the bounty to be found on their territory. At this nest I've previously found the remains of Pigeons, starlings, flickers, crows, grackles, woodcock, cuckoos, catbirds, thrashers, cedar waxwings and the occasional parakeet. In addition, they will also attempt to kill any other raptor that flies into their turf. One of their most hated intruders is the always present juvenile red-tailed hawk who tries to poach their pigeon flock. Today I was able to observe the pair as they launched a concerted attack on this wayward hawk just over, ironically enough, the neighborhood Target.

They drove it off past the VA hospital and then circled low over Baker's Field.

Here's the male landing next to her after failing to copulate.

They stayed there for some time, scanning the water for any passing birds. Then together they both flew off,

giving me a great look at them flying in tandem! They returned to the Bridge where again I heard the female utter her territorial "Eee-Chuck!" call, telling the male of an intruder.

To my astonishment, it was not another pesky hawk, but an adult male peregrine! It wheeled above and then dove at the perched male, breaking off just in time. It then lit out low over Broadway. Here's the resident male flying out in hot pursuit...

He eventually caught up with the challenger way south over Dyckman,

as they clashed over and over in a brutal and poetic loop. Eventually they were too tiny to see so I ran south after them. After some searching I was unable to find them. I noticed the sun began to set, so I thought I might have time left to visit Swindler's Cove, but couldnt make it so I went to nearby Sherman's Creek instead. Peering out over to the Bronx I heard the soft "chuuurrrrrrrr!" of a Belted Kingfisher. It was threatening some stray cat nearing its tree. As it flew off, I manage to grab these pics...

I was on such a bird high after that! I am just very thankful that such amazing natural beauty can be found amidst our paved and littered landscape. On a final note, over by the Sanitation Station there is now a huge colony of American Crows. I stopped counting after 40. Apparently they use the garbage trucks as their main food source and have really multiplied. I observed them for a bit today and got to meet the old matriarch of the bunch!

Here's one group of them discussing the relative merits of Wikileaks!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hancock Monks

Over the past few days I've watched the Monk parakeets shelter from the gale in Hancock Park. Here's a collection of their beauty.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Croton Point Park

It was a great day to check out Croton Point Park. Although there was some bird action, its not the untrammeled place it once was. After catching a Cooper's near miss near the train station,

I noticed a model helicopter passing over the Hill. Immediately I knew there would be no Harriers today. So veered into the woods where I was treated to a great look at a Belted Kingfisher, who promptly flew off as I got my camera ready. Pressing on, I encountered lots of sparrows,

Chickadees, Titmice, and Downy woodpeckers. While checking out wp holes for ESO's, I happened upon this pair, shacking up in an old beehive!

Despite a through search I could find no Owls, nor signs of them. Upon leaving the Park,
I was treated to the resident redtailed pair, hunting in tandem through the woods.

They squirrel they were after managed to evade, but it was a great site to see the male chase it to one side, as the female flew in to that side.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

6th Annual Harlem Hawk Walk

Thanks to all the intrepid hawk watchers who came out for a great raptor day.

Here's the finally tally:
6 Redtailed Hawks: three adults, three juveniles
4 American Kestrels: 2 adult males, 2 adult females
1 Peregrine Falcon
1 Cooper's Hawk
Approximate locations can been seen on

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Peregrine Kill

Not sure what it was about yesterday, but I saw more intense raptor action in 2 hours than I've captured in the past 2 months. From my roof I see hawks and falcons hunting daily, but that is characterized by long, long waiting periods only to see the bird flyoff down and away, out of sight. For whatever reason, the birds were breaking in all the right directions yesterday so here's a compilation of yesterday's best action.
Riverside Peregrine circling...

then a stoop.

And a miss, but the falcon recomposed and turned out over the Union Theological Seminary.

Hawking over the buildings, he flushed prey while the female waited above for the right moment to single out a bird.

In this case, she snags a Yellow Shafted Flicker above Columbia,

this pic is all of 5 seconds after the kill as she flies off to meet the male.
Later, from the Harlem Viaduct, I spotted the pair aggressively defending their turf from an intruding adult Peregrine.

A bit north at Riverbank State Park, an adult RTH chasing off a juvy.

and a hunting adult Male Kestrel.

PS the Parks Dept has removed all traces of the Monk Parakeet Colony above the football field. Its a cruel, cruel world out there sometimes birdys, but keep your heads up...I know you'll find a way!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

6th Annual Harlem Hawk Walk

Scheduled this year for November 14th or 15th, depending on the weather. Lace up those walking shoes and come on out for the only Raptor Tour in NYC.

Shine on you crazy diamonds!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freedom Rings

Riverside Church, standing irresolute. One day it will crumble, but until then it is the year round home of 2 peregrine falcons. It is also home to Columbia University, who is also a very protective resident. After being harrassed by two New York City Police officers for taking pictures of said falcons, I hung tight also. Here's what I saw/was able to capture.

In the fading light,

someone's hunting for dinner.

Diving after starlings, it didnt seem to even be real how fast it plunged.
Turning behind the Church after an unseen MISS! Here's her recovery...

and flyby/flyin.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Ovenbird

In situ.

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

I think Eddie has an idea what to make of it...