Sunday, April 15, 2012
CCNY Redtailed Hawks
This territory has endured much tragedy. Frounce, car accidents and rat poison have taken their toll on the birds that call Harlem their home. Despite these continual setbacks, can hawks thrive in this territory? History has shown that it is possible, but recently our interference and plain old bad luck have cast the viability of this area in doubt. From my roof I can see hawks over the campus daily, but it hasnt been since June 2011 (when one adult and 2 young died) that Ive looked in the nest and seen hawks. It vies with the NYU nest for most trashiest. Here it is today from street level, even more built up with plastic. Seeing this much human debris in a nest always makes me nervous because chicks can easily get tangled or trapped in it. As I scanned out over Hamilton Heights, I spotted two Turkey Vultures riding the wind. Suddenly a hawk flew out from behind Shepard Hall and warded it off. This hawk seemed to be guarding the nest area although I never observed it directly on this part of the building. It could be that they are using an nest very nearby. As I walked around the building, I found a very creative sparrow nest. Along 138th St. a large hawk swooped in from Randolph High School. This apparently banded female was hunting intently, its shadow passing over me repeatedly. The resident male kestrel came out to investigate. Let's hope they have better luck this year!