The View from my Window: Red-tailed Hawks and City Buses

Good morning, New York.

Up here in Morningside Heights, the sounds of the city have almost returned to normal.  It’s the traffic that does it, of course.  The quiet of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was lovely, but strange. The belch and rumble  of buses, back in service yesterday, brought the noise level close to its urban norm.

Mass transit has returned to upper Manhattan.

But even from my perch six stories above the street,  it’s the recurrent rumble of the Number One train up and down Broadway that gives the city soundscape its essential ground-note.  The subways started early this morning Now the only sounds missing are the constant squeals and screams of schoolchildren as they cycle all day through the playground behind my building, and the sharp  hollering through a megaphone of the drill sergeant, er, I mean, teacher, who minds them.  (For those of you not from NYC, school has been cancelled for the rest of the week.)

We did see and hear trick-or-treaters on the street last night.

Trick or treaters head out in search of a sugar fix.

With my mobility still limited by recent foot surgery, I’ve been feeling a bit like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window as I work by the window with camera and binoculars at the ready.

Jimmy Stewart watches the city in Rear Window.

I’ve witnessed no crimes yet. But I’m happy to say that urban nature is everywhere, even outside my window. The pigeons that use my air conditioning unit as a boudoir have come through the storm just fine.

Pigeons outside my window

And at least two of our local red-tailed hawks also seem to be healthy if, perhaps, hungry.  For two days now, I’ve watched red-tails out my window.  Yesterday at around 4 pm, I was drawn to the window by loud and persistent cawing.  Sure enough, several crows were dive-bombing a red-tailed hawk that perched on a tall building across the street. The crows gave up surprisingly soon, and the hawk sat there, surveying the city, for well over an hour.

NYC red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk surveys his domain

The view must be marvelous.

The hawk is on the corner of the tallest part of the pink building.

Gulls filled the skies to the east, calling and soaring, before sailing off toward the Hudson.

Gulls circle over Morningside Heights.

A lone starling perched atop the school just east and south of the hawk.

Starling on roof of school.

No other small birds were visible. I scanned the water towers for more hawks. Nothing to the north.

Water towers.

Nothing to the northeast.

More water towers.

And nothing to the west, where on Tuesday afternoon, I had watched two red-tails briefly perch before taking to the skies, one heading north and the other south.

NYC water towers on the Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy.

As for other NYC red-tails, Urban Hawks reports that Pale Male is fine up on the Upper East Side as is Rosie of Washington Square down in the Village.

Hope the rest of the urban raptor population has done as well.

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3 Comments on “The View from my Window: Red-tailed Hawks and City Buses”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    Love thinking of you as Jimmy Stewart looking out your “rear” window through your telephoto lens, leg propped up, spying on poor Miss Lonelyhearts and that wicked Raymond Burr. Ok, they’re not in the picture but I enjoyed looking around with you, esp the beautiful light on those buildings.


  2. Thank you as always, Barbara.

  3. Barbara Says:

    I’m glad your world is returning to normal and hope that others’ surrounds will follow soon – the images of destruction along your coastline are horrendous and my heart goes out to all. Wildlife is amazing in its ability to survive these events isn’t it? At least some does… that story of the two birds heading into the eye of the storm you posted a couple of days ago, just fascinated me. Thanks for the lovely posting today… your raptors are terrific.


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