It’s been harder and harder to locate Christo and Dora’s young lately. While it’s common at this time of year for young hawks to start exploring on their own, we keep looking for them to see how they’re doing.
So, in addition to hitting the streets of the East Village and scanning the area like the NSA going through AT&T’s data, we’ve been keeping an eye on Christo and Dora. On a recent afternoon, we found them together on the dome of the Most Holy Redeemer Church on 3rd St. They look quite haggard as they are molting but they are still quite active even in the summer heat.
On this day, they were monitoring their territory and perhaps checking in on a baby, although it’s hard to tell. First, they “chatted” on the Church…
…then Dora took off, swooping East a bit and eventually circling West.
Christo watched her fly for a moment…
…then took off himself on the same East-then-West path.
They regrouped on top of the Village View tower where we’ve been seeing at least one of them almost every day lately.
One of them started hovering, looking directly down just in front of the building they were perched on.
It’s not clear what it was looking for, we were hoping a baby was nearby. We scanned the entire area to no avail. There was a report a few weeks ago of a baby stuck in the construction netting on the school nearby but it apparently freed itself, thankfully.
Christo continued to stand on different parts of the same tower to look around (this is behavior we haven’t seen before on Village View)…
After a bit, Dora took off and a few minutes later Christo took off uptown.
Half an hour later, Dora was back on the Church dome and Christo on Village View.
She noticed something and headed off quickly – in the direction of…take a guess!
She landed there gracefully, meeting up with Christo again.
We’re hoping that the babies are still doing well on their own and that they’re avoiding the tragedies we’ve seen in Central Park as of late. We’d like to see them to confirm they’re ok, but for now we’ll just have to hope. After all…
“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Pale Male’s baby was spotted late afternoon in Central Park by hawk watchers. It was in a tree near its previous location. The hawk looks good so far but observation will continue.
A Public Service Announcement from a conscientious Kestrel on an East Village water tower: It’s important to hydrate!
An update on our story from yesterday:
The baby at WINORR is doing well today. It has a healthy appetite and is eating a lot. No word yet on a possible release date.
The baby that has thus far eluded rescue was finally spotted today in the park. It flew around a bit, then sat for a few hours in a tree near Turtle Pond.
It was awake and alert all afternoon, which is great news, although it still wasn’t very active. It might be coming of out its illness (talons crossed) but there have been cases in the past where a sick hawk seemed better one day then rapidly declined…so hawk watchers will be back tomorrow morning to check on its progress.
Update on Pale Male’s offspring in #CentralPark-The young hawk was located today and seems to be alert, more to come.
Historically we’ve been focused on the East Village Red-tailed Hawks, but the story unfolding in Central Park this past week, simultaneously unsettling and heartwarming, was something we could not ignore.
It started last Saturday, August 8th, when one of Pale Male’s offspring was discovered by hawk watcher Susan Gibson. It was in a tree looking quite ill: its eyes were half closed and it hadn’t moved for hours. Concerned, long time hawk watchers Jean Shum, Nabil Esphahani, and Ann Shanahan kept watch over the baby until nightfall.
By Sunday morning, the bird looked even more exhausted and Ranger Rob (who was off duty) was called in to attempt a rescue. Initially, the young hawk was too high in a tree to reach. Just as Rob approached, the hawk flew to an even higher window sill on The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
There was no safe way to access it so the devoted rescuers had to do the hardest but most frequent activity when it comes to bird rescues…they had to wait. Luckily in this case, they didn’t wait long. Within an hour, the bird flew to the grass and Rob was able to safely catch it in a net.
Jean and Rob drove the hawk to WINORR, a wonderful wildlife rescue organization that has helped with countless rescue efforts in the past.
Although blood tests are inconclusive at this time, the hawk has been gaining strength and it is eating, which is a good sign.
If When it recovers, it will be released where it was found in Central Park.
Injuries and illness are common for young Red-Tailed Hawks this time of year as their parents feed them less to encourage independence. As the young are left to their own devices, they hunt poorly (often catching slower and sicker animals) and explore on their own (often getting stuck in places they shouldn’t be).
On Tuesday, a second young hawk was spotted in a tree looking ill. It was still there on Wednesday when heartbreaking news came in: a third young hawk was found dead near 77th St. and East Drive. Within the span of 4 days, all three of Pale Male and Octavia’s 2015 offspring were in peril.
Again, a group of people watched the sick hawk until late Wednesday evening. By Thursday, the hawk still hadn’t moved and a rescue was in order. Here is where the story gets interesting on the human side of the equation. The hawk was sitting in a very dense tree, no ladder could reach it. Perhaps, with a cherry picker, a rescue would be possible. But who has one of those on hand? The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks Dept.) and the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) cut through the bureaucracy and BS one would expect in any large, human-run organization, and they got a CPC cherry picker to the scene quickly (so quickly, in fact, that I assumed I had an hour to get there to witness the rescue…how wrong I was, I ended up sprinting a mile to make it in time!).
With the cherry picker in position, Rob and the folks from the Parks Dept and CPC discussed the best approach to take. As you can see in the video below, the thick foliage made it tough…
…and the bird flew to a nearby tree. Because it still had the strength to fly, everyone decided to watch it for another day, and hope it would come down to a lower branch where it could be rescued. I spent time with the group who stayed there vigilantly watching the hawk for hours and hours. While I was there, the hawk was alert a handful of times…
But spent most of the day stagnantly resting in the tree, ignoring the world around it.
This is not normal behavior for a juvenile hawk at this age. They should be practicing hunting, flying around, and exploring their environment (as we saw recently with the young hawk at the NYC Marble Cemetery).
By Friday morning, the hawk still hadn’t moved and probably hadn’t eaten for days, so Ranger Rob, Kevin Sisco, and some helpful park visitors (aaahh, the kindness of strangers!) worked together to stand up a giant ladder.
But alas, good things are never easy, and the ladder was too precarious to climb. And so the team was back to square one…and the waiting ensued.
But this time, Caroline Greenleaf, who is the Director of Community Relations at Central Park, got the cherry picker to assist in a second rescue attempt. As you can see in this video (shot by Nabil Esphahani) Ranger Rob got part of the net onto the baby. It then ducked, stepped back, and again flew to a nearby tree.
It picked an even higher perch where a rescue wouldn’t be possible.
As of this morning, the hawk has moved from that perch and hawk watchers are searching for it. After so many hot days without eating, the bird is likely in worse shape.
We will continue to update you as this story unfolds. If you do spot the hawk in the park, please let us know ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and we will put the word out.
Many thanks to Ranger Rob, CPC, Parks Dept., Caroline Greenleaf, and all the hawk lovers who have helped these hawks.
Excited to be mentioned by the best local museum! A must-see in NYC.